SOURCE: ASHOK VERMA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
After been denied opportunity to procure Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor stealth air superiority fighter from the United States and due to Rising threats from expanding Chinese Air Force in the region. Tokyo has decided to develop a highly advanced, long ranged Mitsubishi F-3 stealth fighter jet to operate alongside Lockheed Martin’s F-35s and F-15s.
Proposed F-3 stealth fighter jet which Tokyo plans to develop will be more advanced than America’s F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. F-3 will be Class above in terms of performance and weapons carrying capacity when compared with F-35 and will be in same class as F-22.
Japan has developed and tested Advanced Technology Demonstrator – X (ATD-X) prototype aircraft which will be a precursor to F-3 showcasing numerous stealth technologies developed by Tokyo before it beings work on an F-3 fighter jet.
Last month Japan and the UK have agreed to explore options for co-developing a future fighter aircraft and Tokyo also hinted that it is interested in exploring discussions with other countries on developing a next-generation combat jet.Japan’s MoD confirmed that they were also open to the idea of the possible international joint development of fighter aircraft in the future.
Many Western Defence Analysts have hinted that Tokyo is trying to learn from its past mistake especially after its last domestic developed F-2 fighter jet program was widely criticised for being way too expensive than off the shelf purchase leading to only ever 100 being ever produced with No export success. Tokyo is clearly trying to avoid the same fate for its proposed F-3 Stealth Fighter program and is looking for an International partner who could fund and also procure this jets to ease developmental funding of the program.
What’s in for India?
If for some reason proposed Indo-Russian FGFA fail to take off, and Japan agrees to make India a co-partner in the project then F-3 project offers India to work with Japan on a nearly clean slate 5th generation fighter jet program, providing India opportunity to use some of its stealth technologies developed for AMCA Project.
With active technical cooperation from countries like UK and Japan, the project has a higher chance of production success since Japan Air Self-Defense Force already has put a requirement for around 150 fighters. While Russian Air Force has been shying away from placing orders for Sukhoi developed Pak-Fa fighter jet, reducing order pressure on India.
Conclusion: Since F-3 is dubbed as fifth-generation air superiority fighter it can be slotted above India’s AMCA which obviously is a Multi-role Fighter jet. Japan plans to develop F-3 and enter production by the 2030s, which is the same timeline which India has proposed for its AMCA to allow India to benefit from common technology developed for both fighters.