Japan unveils first homegrown stealth fighter prototype

Kyodo

A prototype of the first Japan-made stealth fighter was unveiled to the media Thursday at a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. factory in central Japan.

The Defense Ministry’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency displayed the prototype, which was developed by a consortium of domestic companies led by Mitsubishi Heavy, at the plant in the town of Toyoyama, Aichi Prefecture.

The fighter will first undergo ground tests before making its maiden flight in mid-February or later.

The country’s first domestically made stealth fighter — 14.2 meters long, 9.1 meters wide and 4.5 meters high — is scheduled to fly from Nagoya airport, which is adjacent to the factory, to the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force’s Gifu Air Base in Kakamigahara in neighboring Gifu Prefecture.

The agency said the development of a full-scale test model began in fiscal 2009, with costs for the program totaling about ¥39.4 billion (about $331 million).

The fighter features stealth capabilities, with the use of carbon fiber absorbing radio waves and making it difficult for radar to detect the aircraft.

The agency plans to assess data obtained from the prototype and decide by fiscal 2018 whether to develop domestically or engage in joint international development of aircraft to replace the ASDF’s F-2 fighter.

  • Aussie Andrew

    looks like a smaller copy of the J-21 to me.

    • Starviking

      Yup! It has a fuselage, wings, tails, and tailplanes – just like the J-31 and many, many other aircraft have.

    • Roland Lawrence

      Indeed i was thinking the same too with the thrust vectoring deflectors in the same style as the X31.

    • Roland Lawrence

      Indeed i was thinking the same too with the thrust vectoring deflectors in the same style as the X31.

  • Aussie Andrew

    looks like a smaller copy of the J-21 to me.

  • Don Corleone

    From the corporation that brought you Pearl Harbor.

    I kid, all is forgiven. ;)

  • Chris Clancy

    With a national debt of nearly 2.5 x the nation’s GDP, this is the last in a continual line of folly the government ought to be spending over-burdened taxpayers’ money on. And don’t tell me the government hasn’t invested. Zaibatsu lives!
    It’s actually funny to read international reports on the success of Abenomics. From an outside perspective, all may look good. Maintaining a good image is (tatemae) the foundation of Japanese culture. A look on the inside will reveal how things really are (honne). People aren’t spending, small businesses are going under, unemployment is up, and there’s always the discrimination levied against women and, of course, foreigners.
    We can only hope the newly allowed to vote 18 and 19 year-olds can bring about change that usually goes with the vitality of youth by choosing to elect leaders from parties other than the LDP.

    • Raansu

      Welcome to every country in the world?

  • Stanley Kubrick

    All these new fighters are so damn ugly.

  • Roland Lawrence

    Considering the F2 was very late into service and the cost of it being 4x the baseline cost of an F16 made in the USA one has to assume the Japanese just dont like the F2s. Shame.