The decision regarding the F-3, the sources noted, will be made, most likely, only after the 2018 year.
The publication notes that Japan can not afford to spend 40 billion dollars on this project, taking into account the purchase of American weapons, including F-35 aircraft, Raytheon missiles, etc. The issue of acquiring missile interceptors to counter the North Korean threat is also being considered.
However, the Japanese Defense Forces want the F-3 fighters to withstand the growing Chinese power in the sky over the western part of the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea. In addition, the creation of the aircraft should strengthen the defense industry in Japan thanks to the provision of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and its suppliers to the first fighter program two decades later, when its own F-2 fighter was produced.
The development of a new aircraft at Mitsubishi has already begun, but for now this is a “flying box” without all systems, another source said.
Mitsubishi in April 2016 of the year has already demonstrated its fifth-generation aircraft project X-2. Thus, Japan became the fourth country after Russia, the United States and China, which began testing the fifth-generation fighter of its own production.
Recall, last week, US President Donald Trump offered Japan to buy weapons to intercept North Korean missiles. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed Tokyo’s intention to buy weapons from the United States.