Japan picks Mitsubishi Heavy to develop own stealth fighter

Japan says it has picked Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as a main contractor to develop the country’s own next-generation stealth fighter for launch in the 2030s

TOKYO — Japan has picked Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as a main contractor to develop the country’s own next generation stealth fighter for launch in the 2030s, the defense minister said Friday.

“We will steadily push forward the development of our next generation fighter jets,” Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters in making the announcement.

Mitsubishi will decide on other participants in the project, including avionics, engine and other parts makers. Japan also is considering co-developing some parts with foreign contractors including those in the U.S. and Britain.

The announcement came as Mitsubishi announced a decision to freeze its plans to build a regional passenger aircraft as it cuts costs in response to the uncertainty over the future of the pandemic-hit travel industry.

Kishi said the company’s decision about its commercial aircraft had no bearing on the fighter jet development plan.

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