Tired of waiting for the United States Congress to embrace the idea of selling the F-22 fighter overseas, Japan announced plans to develop its own.
The key part of the six-year project, to be officially launched next April, involves developing an XF5-1 engine that would allow a fighter jet to be both highly maneuverable and cruise at supersonic speeds.
"We need fighters that are fitted with highly advanced technology, considering what's been developed in other countries," the ministry said in a recent statement. "It is a crucial project in developing fighters that will play a key role in our future fleet and build our space defense."
Japan's air force has been searching for replacements for its aging fleet of F-4s and F-15s. But its hopes to purchase F-22s from Washington have been hindered by a U.S. Congress export ban and its reluctance to share sensitive military technology with foreign governments.
Defense officials hope to have a test flight of the prototype, unofficially nicknamed "Shinshin," or spirit, by the end of March 2014. The entire project is expected to cost 46.6 billion yen (US$419.8 million; €285.2 million).
Threat's over. They're going to do it. Too bad for the US that we will be unable to make some money off the F-22. Ah well.