The development comes after the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) confirmed on Wednesday that the around-the-clock search for its missing F-35A plane and highly experienced pilot Major Akinori Hosomi is still underway.
Washington has signaled its readiness to disclose some of the fifth-generation US F-35 fighter’s top-secret details to Japan to spur the joint development of the F-35’s successor, The Yomiuri Shimbun reports.
The newspaper cited unnamed Japanese government sources as saying that the US specifically proposed handing secret codes on the software installed in the F-35 airframe to control parts, including the engine and the missiles, to Japan.
The sources added that Tokyo, which plans to purchase 40 more F-35 jets for the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), is due to decide on the US proposal before the end of this year.
The new aircraft may feature electronic components from the airframe of the US Air Force’s F-22 advanced stealth fighter – something that was endorsed by the US defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin last year.
Some Japanese government officials, for their part, expressed hope that “combining the F-35 and the F-22 could create the best fighter jet in the world”.