A stealth fighter designed by a group of Japanese companies, and using “similar technology to US-made F-35 fighters,” will undergo its first test flight early next year.
This jet is “the first homegrown stealth fighter” built by the Japanese.
According to AFP, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reports Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is leading a “consortium” of Japanese companies working on the “$384 million” project.
News of this jet emerges one month after Japan declared its “right to go into battle in defense of allies.” It also comes as tensions continue to fester between Japan and China regarding “rival claims to islands in the East China Sea.”
China Topix reports that indications of the readiness for a test flight also follow the end of Japan’s “self-imposed ban on exporting weapons” to other countries. Japan’s policies now allow for exportation “under certain conditions.”
The prototype Japanese stealth fighter has been dubbed “the Mitsubishi Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X or (ATD-X).” The maiden test flight will be followed “by at least two years” of testing. And Japan’s Ministry of Defense will then have until “early 2019…to decide if it wants to procure the aircraft.”
If successful, the development of the stealth fighter will lessen Japan’s dependence on the U.S. for “military equipment” and reduce its “reliance” on the U.S. for defense purposes as well.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.