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Aerospace & Defense

Mitsubishi Heavy set to oversee Japan's homegrown fighter project

IHI, Kawasaki Heavy and Subaru also look to play role

The U.S. has played a central role in selection and development of fighter jet models used by Japan's Self-Defense Forces, including the American-made F-35.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's Defense Ministry confirmed Friday it will award a contract to a single Japanese company to oversee its next-generation fighter jet project, part of an effort to preserve a domestic defense industry that has atrophied amid decades of U.S.-led development.

The winning company -- most likely Mitsubishi Heavy Industries -- would subcontract with American and domestic partners. Japanese companies are to handle the overall design as well as development and production of key components such as engines and combat systems. IHI, which has developed a prototype high-output jet engine, is a leading candidate.

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