Japan Will Protect Their Fighter Jets Using Combat Drones
Japan will use combat drones to protect its fighter jets. They are developing an autonomous combat drone that will fly with fighter jets to detect enemy aircraft and potentially destroy any missiles enemies launch.
According to the reports by Nikkei Asia, the drones will be developed with the U.S which allows the two nations to operate together. The main goal of these drones will be to identify potential enemy aircraft as early as possible and the government also has thoughts to equip these drones with missiles to intercept enemy missiles. The Japanese government is planning to develop the prototype of the drone by 2025 and the actual drones are targeted to release by the year 2035.
As you have seen in the recent Russian-Ukrainian war, drones play a major role and have changed the style of combat. Because of this major nations such as Japan are trying to increase their drone power to become even more powerful.
US, Europe, and China have already begun developing advanced tactics that combine manned aircraft with unmanned aircraft. This will increase their power in the sky rather than just using unmanned aircraft alone. So Japan also with the US trying to expand their drone power assuming that drones will be the next big thing in future aerial warfare.
These new drones will be able to receive instructions from the other aircraft they fly with and also with the base stations. They will also rely on artificial intelligence to assess the weather conditions to decide their flying path and will be flying in front of fighter aircraft.
Japan is already using drones and they are only used for surveillance purposes for now. They mostly use the RQ-4 Global Hawk drones provided by the Northrop Grumman of the United States. Japan could manufacture up to 100 of these combat drones initially as per one F-2 fighter jet they have.