The Japanese government has approved plans to proceed with the co-development of a Joint New Air-to-Air Missile with the United Kingdom in fiscal year 2022. (Japanese Ministry of Defence)
As part of its fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget, the cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has approved plans to proceed with the co-development of a Joint New Air-to-Air Missile (JNAAM) with the United Kingdom.
Specifically, Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD) has secured JPY350 million (USD3 million) to fund preparation costs related to air-launch tests of a prototype of the JNAAM for FY 2022, starting in April, an official at the MoD's Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) confirmed to Janes on 21 February.
The official said the joint programme transitioned to a prototype stage in FY 2018 and was expected to finish trial production of the prototype during FY 2022.
However, scheduling of the joint programme with the UK will be amended due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the official said. Following the trial production of the prototype, the two countries will evaluate the performance of the missile and then decide whether to put the weapon into mass production.
The joint Japan-UK research project, initiated by the two nations in 2014, was originally scheduled to conclude by the end of FY 2023, which is March 2024 in Japan.
Janes understands that the UK missile technologies included in the programme relate to MBDA's Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM).
On the Japanese side, the MoD is looking to integrate advanced radio frequency (RF) seeker technologies developed by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation for the AAM4B missile, with the aim of enhancing the accuracy and performance of the BVRAAM and supporting the development of the JNAAM.