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Aerospace & Defense

Japan targets 2031 production start of homegrown stealth fighter

Plane's development was promised in defense buildup plan

A prototype of Japan's X-2 experimental stealth fighter is displayed at a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries factory.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan plans to begin mass production of a cutting-edge, domestically developed fighter jet in fiscal 2031, aiming to start deployment in 2035 when its fleet of aging F-2 planes is scheduled to be retired, according to plan presented Tuesday by the Defense Ministry.

Tokyo pledged a prompt start on development of the new stealth fighter in its defense buildup plan hammered out in 2018, envisioning Japan supplying key components such as the engine while working with the U.S. on technology.

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