Japan, UK to arrange jointly to develop fighter jet's fuselage

Japan's Defense Ministry is making arrangements to work with Britain in developing a common fuselage for a new fighter jet.

Major Japanese and British firms began research in January on co-developing a new engine for the fighter jet to replace the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force's F-2 jets.

The two countries already agreed to draw up a plan on how they will cooperate to develop the new jet by year-end. The timetable was set when the prime ministers of the two countries met in May.

The defense ministry believes the joint-development will help reduce cost as the aircraft specifications that Japan and Britain require are almost the same.

Italy is also being considered as an additional partner for Japan as the country is already cooperating with Britain in fighter jet development.

The Japanese Defense Ministry has included143.2 billion yen, or about one billion dollars, to develop new fighter jets in a budget allocation request for next fiscal year.

It hopes to start to have the F-2 successor ready by the time the F-2 is retired, around 2035.