U.S.-Japan Cooperative Development

Progress on FS-X Program Enhances Japanese Aerospace Capabilities Gao ID: NSIAD-95-145 August 11, 1995

In 1988, the United States and Japan agreed to cooperatively develop the FS-X fighter plane, which is a significantly modified derivative to the U.S. Air Force's F-16 Block 40 fighter aircraft. Congress has been concerned about the transfer of U.S. technology to Japan through the FS-X program and whether the program will provide the United States with useful technology. As a result, Congress requested that GAO monitor and periodically report on the implementation of the FS-X program. This report examines (1) the program's status, (2) U.S. government and contractor controls over technical data and hardware provided to Japan for the program, (3) the transfer of program technology from Japan to the United States, and (4) benefit the program has provided to the Japanese and U.S. aerospace industries.

GAO found that: (1) Japanese and U.S. contractors are working on FS-X prototype aircraft, and the first flight test is scheduled for late summer 1995; (2) U.S. officials have expressed concerns about Japan's ability to develop digital flight control software for the aircraft; (3) the overall cost for the development of FS-X aircraft has not been determined because the FS-X agreements do not allow U.S. access to Japanese contractors' FS-X related cost data; (4) although the Air Force adequately screens F-16 data for release to Japan, Japan continues to request F-16 technical data that has been previously denied for release; and (5) the United States has not determined whether Japanese technology has been beneficial for its aerospace industry, but the FS-X program has helped strengthen Japan's aerospace industry by introducing valuable design and systems integration experiences that are applicable to other military and commercial aircraft projects.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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