Japan and the UK are moving forward with efforts to develop a new joint air-to-air missile.
The project is understood to be supported by a successfully conducted project to integrate Japanese seeker technologies into MBDA’s Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile, IHS Jane’s has reported.
The project utilises Japanese technologies to enhance the accuracy and performance of the missile.
Meteor is an active radar guided beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile being developed by MBDA. Meteor will offer a multi-shot capability against long range manoeuvring targets in a heavy electronic countermeasures environment with range in excess of 100km.
MBDA is planning integration of Meteor on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Block 4. The Meteor has already been checked for fit in the internal weapons bays of the JSF. It is compatible with the aircraft’s internal air-to-ground stations, but would require modification of the fin span and air intakes to be compatible with the air-to-air stations.
It is understood that it is in this context, MBDA has agreed to jointly research a new seeker with Japan.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“Japan is our closest security partner in Asia and I want to significantly deepen defence cooperation between our two nations.
We will do that through joint exercises, reciprocal access to our military bases, military personnel exchanges and cooperation on equipment, including a new air-to-air missile.”
Following the success of the first round of talks on the Co-operative Research Project on the Feasibility of a Joint New Air-to-Air Missile (JNAAM), the Ministers have confirmed discussions would move to the second stage.
Further additional cooperation could, according to a MoD press release, include mine hunting in the Gulf; cooperating to improve amphibious capability; and improving counter-IED (Improvised Explosive Device) capability. The UK also welcomed increasing Japanese participation in NATO exchanges and joint exercises.