As part of its budget request for fiscal year 2021, Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has asked the Ministry of Finance in Tokyo for JPY1.2 billion (USD11.4 million) to push ahead with the co-development of a Joint New Air-to-Air Missile (JNAAM) with the United Kingdom.
This funding request is for the trial production of a prototype of the JNAAM, an MoD official confirmed during a 28 September press briefing.
The joint programme transitioned to a prototype stage in FY18 and is expected to finish trial production of the prototype during FY 2022, according to MoD documents. Following this, the two countries will evaluate the performance of the missile and then decide whether to put the weapon into mass production.
The current joint Japan-UK research project, initiated by the two nations in 2014, is scheduled to conclude by the end of FY 2023, which is March 2024 in Japan.
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.
Computer-generated image of the Joint New Air-to-Air Missile (JNAAM). Japan’s Ministry of Defense has requested JPY1.2 billion (USD11.4 million) to advance the co-development of the JNAAM with the UK. (Japanese Ministry of Defense)
Both Japan and the UK could prospectively integrate JNAAM with their respective Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II multirole fighter aircraft fleets.