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Air-to-Air Missile w/UK

Japan's Defense Minister said 24 November 2017 that the country planned to develop a missile prototype in a joint research project with Britain. Itsunori Onodera told reporters that the development is expected to start in the fiscal year that begins April 2018. The Defense Ministry began joint research with Britain 3 years earlier on a missile to be mounted on fighter aircraft.

The aim is to improve the ability of Japan's Self-Defense Forces to counter violations of the country's airspace and other emergencies as other nations are developing missiles for fighter jets. Onodera said Japan and Britain have been carrying out research on combining Japanese detection and tracking equipment with British technology. He said the project will enter a new phase of building a prototype missile in the 6-year period from fiscal 2018. The Defense Ministry will consider the joint development of a new missile with Britain after assessing the prototype's capabilities.

Japan will team with the U.K. to develop an air-to-air missile, Tokyo's first defense equipment project with a partner other than the Untied States. Japan and UK are likely to team up to build an improvised version of MBDA Meteor air-to-air missile. The weapon will incorporate radar system developed by Japans Mitsubishi Electri into European MBDAs Meteor missile. Meteor is a new concept in air to air weapons, employing advanced air breathing motor technology and state of the art electronics to provide optimum performance against increasingly complex threats. A prototype will be built starting 2018. Live-fire testing in the UK is slated to begin by 2023.

Japan's collaboration with the U.K. to develop a new air-to-air missile aims partly to breathe new life into a stagnant defense industry that had seen little luck capitalizing on new overseas markets. The country's Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency estimates Japan's defense market at 1.8 trillion yen ($16.1 billion), about the same size as the home appliance or shipbuilding markets. Defense spans a wide array of products, from ships and jets to ammunition and fuel. Major players include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries as well as electronics companies such as Mitsubishi Electric and NEC.

In 2014, Japan and Britain agreed on a deal that will see Mitsubishi Electric Corp. partner with European missile maker MBDA to develop a medium-range air-to-air missile for the F-35 stealth fighter, which both countries planned to deploy.



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