The decision regarding the F-3, sources noted, will most likely be made only after 2018.
The publication notes that Japan may not afford spending $ 40 billion 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 F-3 fighters to counter the growing Chinese power in the skies over the western Pacific and East China Sea. In addition, the aircraft should bolster Japan's defense industry by providing Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and its suppliers with the first fighter program two decades later, when its own F-2 fighter was produced.
Development of the new aircraft at Mitsubishi has already begun, but so far it is a "flying box" without all the systems, another source said.
Mitsubishi has already demonstrated its fifth generation aircraft of the X-2016 project in April 2. Thus, Japan became the fourth country after Russia, the United States and China to begin testing a fifth-generation fighter of its own production.
We will remind, 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.