With an eye on China and visualising the future of warfare, Japan has begun to develop a remote-controlled fighter aircraft which will be ready for deployment in 2035. Nikkei Asia is reporting that the 15-year project has acquired urgency to counter China’s cascading advancement of hi-tech weaponry.
Currently, Tokyo stands outmanned and outgunned by its larger neighbour, the daily observes. It points out that China possesses more than 1,000 fourth-generation fighter jets that can reach supersonic speeds, about triple as many as Japan. It has also begun deploying fifth-generation stealth fighters.
Japan’s Defence Ministry plans to introduce fighter drones in three stages – first, those that are remote-controlled, then “teaming” operations where one manned plane would control several drones, and ultimately for use in completely unmanned and autonomous squadrons.
Autonomous weapons require advanced machine-learning capabilities, and international rules have yet to catch up to the technology.