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Military review: Does the US export F-22 technology to Japan? Actually the third "technical castration"

According to the report of Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun on August 23, the US military giant Lockheed Martin (hereinafter referred to as Luo Ma) submitted a development plan to the Japanese Defense Ministry around the introduction of a new generation fighter aircraft around 2030 in Japan. . The new fighter will be transformed with the company's F-22 stealth fighter, allowing Japanese companies to undertake more than 50% of development and production tasks. This is also the first time that the United States has allowed the export of F-22 related technologies to foreign countries. In contrast, the history of the United States and Japan joint research and development fighters, similar cases are traceable. Then, how will the US export of F-22 technology to Japan affect Japan's military self-study capability? This article gives you a brief analysis.

The first castration: the United States pushes F-2 fighters in Japan.

According to a report published in Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun titled F-22, or more than half of the production in Japan, the United States has provided Japan with the F-22 stealth fighters and other related technologies because there is no technical outflow. Worried and helpful to Asian security. If Japanese manufacturers are responsible for the development of core components such as engines, and can also enhance the production and technical base of the Japanese defense industry, it can be said to symbolize the strengthening of the Japan-US alliance. Luo-Ma allowed Japan to assume more than 50% of the development and production of a new generation of fighter aircraft in response to Japan's concerns about the monopoly development and production of US companies, and Japanese companies are almost unable to participate. Luo Ma said that in the final analysis, this is a Japanese-led framework. The report also said that the new generation of fighters is the successor to the F-2 support fighters retired around 2030.

Coincidentally, in the 1980s, more than 30 years ago, Japan had a similar situation when it launched the experimental support fighter (referred to as the FS-X, later the predecessor of the F-2). In 1982, the Japanese government sought a new generation of fighters that could replace the old Mitsubishi F-1 support fighter. At that time, Japan had three overseas candidates, including the US F-16 trench and the F/A-18 Hornet (then A/B type) and European gusty IDS attack aircraft, there is also a self-developed fighter program. At that time, Japan was not satisfied with the performance indicators of the three overseas models.

In March 1985, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. proposed a new type of fighter aircraft with independent codename JF-210. The shape is similar to that of the Swedish Eagle and Lions. But the difference is that it uses a dual engine, double vertical tail design, and the inlet design. Similar to the F-16 fighter, located below the cockpit. According to the design index, JF-21 has a maximum speed of 1.9 Mach and a combat radius of 930 km when four anti-ship missiles are mounted. It can be seen that the target of Japan is still very ambitious. Unfortunately, the plan is finally dead.

Because after World War II, the United States has been very vigilant against Japan's military industry, preventing the latter from regaining its ability to wage war, and often suppress it when necessary. At that time, the United States seemed to be aware of the threats behind Japan's independent research and development fighters, and immediately put pressure on Japan from all sides. In October 1987, Japan announced the development of the FS-X (the later F-2 fighter aircraft) based on the US F-16C/D fighter. The decision also caused controversy in the United States. Some people accused the United States of transferring too much advanced to Japan. technology.

In November 1988, the United States and Japan officially launched the first joint research and development fighter program. Since the F-2 is only equipped with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (hereinafter referred to as Air Self), the research and development expenses are entirely borne by Japan. According to the agreement between the two parties, the F-2 prime contractor was Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and the general power company at that time (later the General Motors Aviation Department was acquired by Lockheed in 1993, and the F-16 was also owned by Lockheed Martin). Japan bears 60% of the work share.

The first prototype of the F-2 was successfully tested in October 1995. It was mainly based on the amplification and improvement of the 40th batch of F-16C fighters. The fuselage lengthened 0.5 meters and the main wing area increased by 25%. It is worth mentioning that the F-2 is the world's first fighter equipped with Active Phased Array Radar (AESA), equipped with J/APG-1 fire control radar developed by Mitsubishi Electric, which can detect 185 km away. Large air or sea targets can also detect small, non-stealth targets 65 kilometers away. Don't look at the paper data is good, but in fact, the radar's comprehensive performance is limited, the basic components lag behind the United States, and it is barely grabbed the first prize.

Because the US government refused to provide the computer source code of the F-16, Japan was forced to develop its own flight control system software, and finally developed its own four-degree digital fly-by-wire flight control system to improve the stability of the F-2. Maneuverability provides technical support. Although the F-2 has a qualitative leap in terms of integrated combat performance (especially for sea attack capabilities) compared to the F-16C, the Japanese military industry is well aware that the F-2 is limited by its size (although F -16 magnified version but still a single-light light fighter, difficult to compare with the F-15 and other dual-engine heavy fighters), lacking further improvement potential, is a hammer sale. It is not difficult to see that the F-2 project is the first castration of the US military self-research industry by the United States, but from the results, Japan is still a party that has benefited a lot.

Second Castration: US Marketing F-35A Japan Uncertain

From more than 10 years ago, Japan has been seeking to obtain F-22 stealth fighters from the United States, but Japan has not been able to do so because the US Congress has banned the export of F-22 related technologies. So Japan once again began to try to develop stealth fighters. In 2000, the Japanese Defense Ministry announced the launch of a multi-billion yen advanced technology verification machine (stealth fighter) self-research project, code-named ATD-X (later X-2 Heart Verification Machine), which was developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. After the years of difficult technical research, the first and only X-2 prototype successfully made its first flight in April 2016. Surprisingly, the prototype was announced to be retired early on October 31, 2017 after only 32 test flights.

The reason is that the Japanese government announced on December 20, 2013 that it will purchase 42 Luo-Ma F-35A lightning stealth fighters as the next-generation air defense main combat equipment to replace the F that has been in service for nearly 40 years. -4EJ fighter. Undoubtedly, this is another US castration of the Japanese military aircraft research industry. The price quoted by the Americans this time is: Japan can participate in 40% of the F-35 production project. This seems to be a big concession for Japan, which is not a F-35 development partner, and Japan has become In addition to the United States, two of the countries with the final F-35 stealth fighters (the other country is Italy), the assembly plant is located in Nagoya, Japan.

Since December 2015, the first Japanese-made F-35A fighter (Japanese production code AX-5) began assembly and was rolled out in 2017. In addition to assembling the aircraft, FACO began providing maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services to the F-35 in the North Pacific in 2018. Nagoya's F-35 assembly plant is only part of the F-35A industry in Japan, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is responsible for the manufacture of airframe components, IHI's engine component production, and Mitsubishi Electric's avionics components. For Japan, the F-35 itself is not the most important weapon. The technology behind it and the production line are the more critical factors, but the opposite price is huge – because Japan only ordered 42 F- 35A (38 of which are in Japan) and need to build a new assembly line, so the price of the F-35A stand-alone made in Japan is about 60% higher than the original Luo-Ma original product. The tuition is really high. What is even more terrible is that Japan once again gave up the opportunity to self-research military aircraft.

It is not difficult to see that after two technical castrations, the Japanese military aircraft industry has basically been monopolized by the United States. The Luo-Ma export F-22 related technology is nominally developed by both parties. It further reduced Japan's future self-research capabilities. The F-22 related technology exported by the United States will certainly have reservations, and even the possibility of providing a downgraded version of the F-22 will not be excluded. It is regarded as the third technical castration of the Japanese military industry, and the Japanese domestically produced fighters are worthy of the name. The dream has become even more embarrassing. (Text / Huang Jinyi)

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