ATD-X
Japanese Companies to Manufacture 10 percent of each of Japan's F-35As

Japanese Companies to Manufacture 10 percent of each of Japan’s F-35As

According to the August 22 Asahi Shimbun, it has been confirmed that Japanese companies Mitsubishi Electric and IHI will manufacture 24 components of the F-35 related to the engine and radar. These components normally would account for an estimated 10 percent of the total cost of an F-35A unit. As the manufacturing of these components...

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NY Times: "Japan Shifting Further Away From Pacifism"

NY Times: “Japan Shifting Further Away From Pacifism”

To be sure, the article itself is solid and talks to all the right people, including Professor Richard Samuels and Associate Professor Michishita Narushige who are both outstanding scholars of Japan’s security strategy. Ultimately, despite appearances below, the article doesn’t bother me all that much. But it provides a good opportunity to reflect on a few...

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Factlet #2: Until 2011, Japan had domestically produced fighters for 55 continuous years

This week’s factlet will come as no surprise to regular readers: until the last F2 fighter rolled off Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ production line last December, Japan had been producing fighters domestically for 55 years without interruption.

Mitsubishi has produced all of Japan’s domestically-built fighters in continuous production since the first construction began on the F86 Sabre under license in 1956. The break in production is a terrifying prospect for Mitsubishi and IHI (jet engine manufacturer), who fear a loss of skills and construction/development capability. Japan maintains these skills through research platforms such the ATD-X ‘Shinshin’, as well as through securing some measure of assembly and production through the F35 deal with Lockheed Martin.

In January 2010, Nikkei Business wrote a special feature on Japan’s defense aircraft entitled “Last Chance”. That article featured a chart depicting the domestically-developed fighter program, translated and updated below. Note that the F1 is the only fighter on the list that was domestically developed and produced. All the other fighters were produced under license from American companies.Whether this current gap bodes well for the FXX program (seeking the successor to the F15J) or not remains to be seen.

Click the image below for the full-sized chart:

Timeline of domestic fighter production in Japan

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YouTube Fridays: Japan's 5th Generation Fighter AKA Get Your Shin-Shin On

A variety of videos about the ATD-X fighter, or Shin-Shin. This video appears to be of a flying scale model produced by TRDI, the Ministry of Defense’s research and development wing — something like DARPA. Here’s an all-CGI video that presents Shin-Shin from an obnoxious number of angles. Fortunately, it also forsakes a power rock...

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Japan's 5th Gen Fighter Demonstrator to Get FY12 Funding

Japan’s 5th Gen Fighter Demonstrator to Get FY12 Funding

Development of the ATD-X fighter demonstrator airframe will be funded this financial year.

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Japan's Arms Export "Ban" Up for Discussion Again

Japan’s Arms Export “Ban” Up for Discussion Again

A Ministry of Defense committee of experts (Defense Manufacturing and Technology Base Research Committee  [防衛生産・技術基盤研究会]), chaired by the well-known Japanese IR analyst Takashi Shiraishi of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, announced in an interim report that Japan should look again at reviewing the collective ban/restrictions on arms exports.1 The main justification put forward for this...

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Shinshin a $100 Billion Dollar Program?

Shinshin a $100 Billion Dollar Program?

The Associated Press ran an article today which quotes General Hideyuki Yoshioka, director of air systems development at the Ministry of Defense as saying that the ATD-X, or Shinshin (“Spirit”) fighter will fly for the first time some time in 2014. [Yoshioka] said Japan has put 39 billion yen ($473 million) into the project since...

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China to have 5th generation fighter by 2018?

The U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center is predicting that China will field a 5th generation fighter”in the ballpark” of the U.S. F-22 around 2018. As a neighbor and potential adversary, this has serious implications for Japan. Or does it? The date cited for the expected deployment is years ahead of previous Pentagon public...

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Cost overruns make F-35 less attractive to Japan

The F-35, otherwise known as the ball and chain seemingly the entire Western world finds itself chained to, is probably not looking so good to Tokyo right now. WASHINGTON (Kyodo) Japan may think twice about selecting the U.S.-built F-35 as its new mainstay fighter, given the high cost of the aircraft, observers said Thursday. Obama...

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