UK and Japan to work together on world-leading fighter jet sensor

  • Partners will acquire cutting-edge sensor technology to detect lethal threats
  • 75 UK jobs to be created, including 40 engineering jobs in Scotland
  • Part of UK’s Combat Air Strategy, backed by £2 billion of funding during the next four years

The universal radio frequency sensor technology, known as “JAGUAR”, could enable the Armed Forces to better detect future threats from air, land and sea, quickly and accurately locating targets and denying surveillance technology operated by our adversaries.

With joint work on the project scheduled to start in April, JAGUAR is expected to create 75 jobs across the UK, including 40 highly skilled engineering jobs at Leonardo’s Edinburgh site.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin said:

We are proud to work ever closer with our partners in Japan to ensure both our Armed Forces remain at the forefront of military innovation.

This crucial relationship will see us acquire truly advanced technology to protect our nations for decades to come whilst creating significant investment and highly-skilled jobs in the UK and Japan.

Designing, building and evaluating the JAGUAR system will take around five years, involving input from Leonardo UK and Japanese industry. Two demonstrators will be built within the project, one in each country, with the work and learning shared to maximise national expertise.

Chair and CEO Leonardo UK, Norman Bone said:

As the UK’s combat air electronics champion and a founding member of Tempest, we’re keen to work with our international allies where their industry has similarly advanced capabilities, bringing together the best of both partners.

Japan has a strong and growing combat air industry which is a natural fit for Leonardo. Under JAGUAR, our highly-skilled scientists and engineers based across the UK will work with their Japanese counterparts to advance technology that will benefit both of our nation’s future combat air endeavours.

This cooperative research comes after the UK and Japan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) in December last year, enabling both nations to pursue joint technologies. In December, the two countries also announced an intention to develop a future fighter jet engine demonstrator as part of their partnership.

International partnership remains at the heart of the UK’s approach to combat air, as set out in the Combat Air Strategy published in 2018. During the next four years, the UK is investing more than £2 billion into its major national and international endeavour to design a world-leading Future Combat Air System. The work with Japan is taking place alongside the UK’s growing partnership with European nations.

This news delivers against plans announced in the UK’s Defence Command Paper, published in March 2021, to deepen and expand defence industrial relationships in the Indo-Pacific region, including with Japan.

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