Kawasaki, NEC Join Eight-Company F-X Development Team

F-X concept.
Credit: 防衛省 - https://www.mod.go.jp/j/yosan/yosan_gaiyo/2020/yosan_191220.pdf

Eight Japanese companies are now working to design the nation’s F-X fighter: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), Subaru, IHI, Mitsubishi Electric, Toshiba, Fujitsu and NEC. 

KHI and NEC have formally joined the F-X design team at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plant near Nagoya in central Japan, according to reports by the Nikkei and Mainichi newspapers. 

KHI and Subaru work on the airframe; IHI on the engine; Mitsubishi Electric on the mission system; and Toshiba, Fujitsu and NEC on avionics, including the radar. MHI is responsible for overall integration as the single prime contractor. The number of engineers at the moment is about 200 and will peak at about 500, according to reports by Mainichi and Nikkei.

Meanwhile, the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) of the Japanese defense ministry published a paper in February showing that it awarded a contract for an F-X trade-off study to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) think tank in Washington on Dec. 25, 2020. The amount is 50.3 million yen ($464,000).

CSBA won the contract because it was the only one that could meet ATLA’s conditions. The winner needed to have a long track record of studies on the concept of operations of U.S. forces in air combat, including artificial intelligence and electronic warfare.