Godzilla is coming. No, we’re not kidding. Godzilla is indeed coming to Japan. But it’s not exactly the movie monster we all know and love, for his cool crushing of trains, cars and buildings. It is, in fact, the nickname for the homegrown Mitsubishi F-X sixth-generation fighter jet being domestically developed at a projected cost of around 5 trillion yen (about US$48 billion).
In Japan’s case, it’s all about keeping up and staying strong in a tough neighborhood, namely Russia and China which already have cutting edge aerial assets, Interesting Engineering reported. While a technologically advanced and innovative country, Japan has not led the development of a new fighter craft domestically for around 40 years or so. For this reason, the country is very interested in bringing in technical help from the United States and the United Kingdom.
According to a Nikkei news release “by November , the Ministry of Defense had narrowed down potential candidates to Lockheed and Boeing of the US and Britain’s BAE Systems. They were evaluated in three areas — system integration capabilities such as radar and missiles, high stealth and athletic ability, and efficient development technology.”
The international R&D program will provide the fighter with some exciting interoperability functions with allied forces.
In theory, the new fighter should be able to share data with friendly US aircraft, like its F-22s and F-35s, making joint operations streamlined.
While we aren’t sure exactly what it will look like at this point, some have pointed to the fact that it will likely be similar to, but bigger than the F-22, earning it the unofficial nickname “Godzilla.”
What is known is that the F-X will come with electronically actuated control surfaces. To maintain a low radar profile, space will be tight inside the airframe, so conventional hydraulic systems will be used sparingly, if at all.
Advanced technologies include remote drone control capabilities, a VR-style helmet-mounted display, a radar that can double as a microwave to fry enemy missiles and serpentine air intakes to help further reduce its radar cross-section and heat signature.
The F-X will likely also come with heat shields and an integrated bonded structure that will likely be made of composite materials.
This will help reduce the overall weight of the aircraft giving the F-X a much extended operational range and give the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) the much-needed ability to be flexible with the airbases the F-X will operate from.
With regards to propulsion, one of the main companies involved in the project, IHI Corporation, has been testing a new jet engine, the XF9-1 low-bypass turbofan engines since 2018.
This engine includes some interesting “exotic” materials that will help keep its weight down while simultaneously increasing the engine’s heat tolerance to as much as 3,272 degrees Fahrenheit (1,800 degrees Celsius).
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