Japan and UK are likely to team up to build an improvised version of MBDA Meteor air-to-air missile.
The weapon will incorporate radar system developed by Japan’s Mitsubishi Electri into European MBDA’s Meteor missile. A prototype will be built starting 2018. Live-fire testing in the UK is slated to begin by 2023, at which point Japan and the U.K. will decide whether to put the weapon into mass production, Nikkei Asia Review reported Friday.
The report added that the new missile will likely be field on Japan’s F-35A.
Deployment is expected in the late 2020s. The missile likely will become equipment on the F-35 stealth fighter to be used by Japan's Air Self-Defense Force, and it could be used to defend far-flung Japanese territories such as the Senkaku Islands, which China claims as the Diaoyu. Exports to countries such as Germany and France will be considered as well.
Japan previously has worked with only the US on defense equipment development, such as the SM-3 Block IIA missile interceptor project.