Japan and South Korea are both laying the groundwork for combat aircraft they would field in the 2030s. But, whereas Japanese defense officials are looking at a manned fighter that would leap in technology past the Lockheed Martin F-35, South Korea is working on a strike drone for the 2030s, and a technically less ambitious—but still enormously challenging—home-grown fighter for the 2020s. Both countries have also put effort into long-endurance surveillance drones, with a South Korean ...

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