Japan reveals first domestic stealth aircraft

By Ryan Maass   |   Jan. 28, 2016 at 10:52 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries revealed its prototype of Japan's first indigenous stealth fighter at a media event in central Japan.

The aircraft is known as the X-2, and was originally referred to as the Advanced Technology Demonstrator X. The plane was made to replace the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's aging fleet of F-2 fighter aircraft, because no country is allowed to purchase the U.S. Lockheed Martin-made F-22 Raptor.

So far, Japanese developers have spent $440 million on the project, developing the prototype with similar characteristics to the F-22. Developers began work on the plane in fiscal 2009.

The stealth fighter is 46.5 feet long, 29.8 feet wide, and stands 14.7 feet high. Its stealth capabilities include the use of carbon fiber absorbing radio waves, which makes it harder for radars to detect the plane. The Japan Times reports the fighter will undergo ground tests before its maiden flight scheduled to take place in mid-February.

The Japanese Defense Ministry's Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency will assess data from tests and make a decision to either move forward on domestic production or join an international development venture by fiscal 2018.

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