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UK and Japan Are Jointly Developing a Game-Changing Fighter Jet Engine

Rolls-Royce, together with Japanese company Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) will begin work on the new engine early next year 6 photos
UK and Japan announced plans to develop a new fighter jet engine demonstratorUK and Japan announced plans to develop a new fighter jet engine demonstratorUK and Japan announced plans to develop a new fighter jet engine demonstratorUK and Japan announced plans to develop a new fighter jet engine demonstratorUK and Japan announced plans to develop a new fighter jet engine demonstrator
On Wednesday, December 22nd, UK and Japan announced plans to develop a future fighter jet engine demonstrator, moving further with the British-led Tempest and Japanese-led F-X program.

Earlier this year, UK inked a £250 million (circa $333 million) contract with defense contractor BAE Systems to move forward with the concept and assessment phase of its sixth-generation fighter jet program, which is dubbed Tempest.

The upcoming aircraft, which is set to join the Royal Air Force fleet in 2035, will replace the Typhoon jet and is expected to explore game-changing capabilities such as uncrewed operation, more advanced sensors, weapons, and data systems.

In parallel, Japan is looking to develop a future fighter jet to replace its F-2 aircraft through its F-X program. The capabilities of the new F-X jet are also said to classify it as a sixth-gen fighter.

The work on the future aircraft will be led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) in Japan. Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems will contribute from the UK. Rolls-Royce has already agreed to work with IHI on the all-new engine.

The teams will kick off the engine’s development early next year. Initially, the UK will invest £30 million ($40 million) in manufacturing developments and will add another £200 million (around $266.6 million) that will be poured into the full-scale demonstrator system.

For now, the details about the aircraft or the engine are scarce. Alex Zino, director of Business Development and Future Programmes at Rolls-Royce, said that this “joint engine demonstrator programme is an exciting opportunity to bring together some of the best combat air capabilities in the world and will also enable the development of innovative and critical technologies that will be fundamental to the future of the defence aerospace industry.”

However, there’s no technical data provided at this stage, and it is unknown if the engine will be used on both the Tempest and the F-X. According to the Royal Air Force, the engine will be able to operate at higher temperatures since it will be developed using advanced composite materials that will provide lightweight, power-dense configurations.

Aside from the agreement to cooperate on new fighter jet engine technology, UK and Japan have also agreed to a “Memorandum of Cooperation” that allows both countries to assess the viability of further combat tech through 2022.



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