Japanese Ministry of Defense has sent requests for information about future fighter program to replace the currently used multi-role fighter aircraft F-2, reported Aviation Week & Space Technology.
Japan wants information on three possible alternatives – creating an entirely new fighter, modifying existing aircraft, or direct acquisition of a fighter that is in service.
It is assumed that the Japanese Ministry of Defense will look for a relatively large twin-engine combat aircraft, which has a long flight duration and the capability to bear in its internal compartment six missiles “air-air” for ranged.
This entails the conclusion that Japan will seek the creation of an entirely new combat aircraft.
By mid-2018 it should be clear to what option is Japan orientated. The new fighter must enter into service by 2030.
Currently, several Japanese companies led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, are working on the technological demonstrator X-2, which tests technologies for the creation of a next-generation fighter.
F-2 is a deeply modified version of the F-16C / D. The machine made its first flight in October 1995 and has entered into service five years later. Until 2011 a total of 94 units, plus four prototypes were produced.