TOKYO — U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin has approached Japan with plans for a next-generation fighter jet based on its elite F-22 stealth fighter, demonstrating both Washington’s trust in Tokyo as a defense partner and its eagerness to balance the scales on trade with expensive equipment.
The advanced aircraft would enter service around 2030, when Japan is set to start retiring its fleet of F-2 fighters. It would combine elements of the F-22 and Lockheed’s smart F-35 stealth fighter. Developing a new fighter typically takes more than 10 years.
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