Japan is seeking proposals for a new advanced jet fighter based on an existing Western aircraft, and is seeking American and British cooperation to help kick-start development of the project, three sources have said.

The estimated cost of the program will be around $40 billion (about ¥4.24 trillion), according to the sources.

Japan this month issued a third request for information (RFI) to defense companies seeking proposals for the new aircraft, which has been dubbed the F-3. Unlike the first two requests, the latest went only to foreign companies in the United States and Europe — with a separate, more detailed document delivered to London and Washington, according to the sources who have direct knowledge of the requests.