The Defense Ministry will begin developing a new radar system in fiscal 2014 that is capable of detecting and tracking stealth fighter jets, officials said.
With development of next-generation stealth fighters increasing around the world, there is an urgent need to devise such technologies, according to the officials.
The Air Self-Defense Force has selected the F-35 stealth jet as its next mainstay fighter while China also plans to introduce stealth aircraft soon.
In its budget request for fiscal 2014 from next April, the ministry has requested ¥3.7 billion for research and development of the radar. The project is expected to take at least six years and the new system would be unlikely to enter service within the next decade, according to the officials.
The ministry hopes to produce a radar that can be installed in vehicles to enable its deployment anywhere in the country. It is thought that the new system would initially be set up in locations such as Miyako Island, which is in Okinawa Prefecture but lies close to Chinese airspace, to complement existing radar facilities.
In parallel with that project, the ministry plans to start research on a fire-control system able to intercept — via ground-to-air missiles — stealth fighters detected by the new radar system, if the aircraft are considered on the point of attacking Japanese territory.
Among countries developing stealth aircraft, China has successfully conducted trial flights of the domestically produced J-31, a small fighter jet, as well as the twin-engine J-20 prototype, and Russia is accelerating work on the Sukhoi T-50.
Technologies to detect stealth jets are top secret, and no information on their development has been disclosed or leaked to date.