Unveiled: Japan's First Stealth Fighter

The first domestically-made stealth aircraft, X-2, is shown to the media at Nagoya Airport in Toyoyama town, central Japan, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. The demonstration plane is expected to make its maiden flight sometime after mid-February. A Defense Ministry official said the technology will give Japan the option of developing its own stealth fighter jets in the future. (AP Photo/Emily Wang)


Mitsubishi calls it the X-2 and it’s supposed to fly for the first time this month:

Defence officials said the aircraft is designed to test the stealth technology that would possibly be combined with the next-generation fighter jet, replacing the fleet of F-2 fighters as early as 2028.

The red-and-white aircraft, with a 14-meter-long fuselage and 9-meter-long wingspan, sat inside a hanger at the Nagoya Airport in central Japan.

Led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, the stealth plane comes with radar-resistance features, including a canopy with special stealth-enhancing coating, and mobility.

“I cannot go into details, but we recognise it is technologically at a very high level,” said Takahiro Yoshida, an official in charge of the project at the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency of the Defense Ministry.


My initial impression is that it’s so small it looks more like a trainer than a frontline fighter jet. It certainly isn’t going to be able to carry any weapons internally, rendering it a whole lot less stealthy with missiles and bombs hanging off of its wings.

Perhaps this is nothing more than a test platform for homegrown radar-absorbing materials, and/or a stealthy airframe profile. If that’s the case, Japan is going to have an impossible time replying these by 2028.


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