Delivery of Japan stealth jet prototype likely to be delayed

Kyodo

A prototype of Japan’s first stealth fighter jet is unlikely to be ready to ship by the end-of-March deadline due to delays in the flight testing schedule, sources close to the Defense Ministry said Sunday.

The aircraft, developed by a consortium led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., is expected to be delivered to the ministry in mid-April or later, they said.

The fighter — 14.2 meters long and 9.1 meters wide — will undergo flight testing in central Japan, including its maiden flight, after further ground tests, the source said.

The deadline for delivery was extended from March last year after it was determined that more testing of the engine and flight control system was needed.

The development of a full-scale test model began in fiscal 2009, and the cost of the program is estimated at about ¥39.4 billion ($346 million).

The fighter’s stealth capabilities stem from the use of carbon fiber that absorbs radio waves, making it difficult to detect by radar.

Of the two planned test flights, one will depart from Nagoya airport and fly to an Air-Self Defense Force base in Gifu Prefecture.

The second flight will take place at the base in Gifu, the sources said.

The Defense Ministry’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency plans to assess data from the prototype and decide by fiscal 2018 whether to develop the aircraft domestically or engage in the joint international development of aircraft to replace the Air Self-Defense Force’s F-2 fighter.

  • TV Monitor

    Let’s be realistic here, Japan had no intention of really turning the ATD-X into a real fighter due to the massive cost. Bankrupt Japan has no money for that. No wonder the ATD-X is not flying.

    • Tachomanx

      As with all such projects, delays are inevitable. Just take a look at american fighter jets development history.

      That tests are being carried out and defects worked out means they are serious about it as is the constant funding of the program.

      So I would be more worried about the embattled KF-X which faces cancelation after the U.S. denied Korea key technologies as the U.S. is getting fed up with it using it’s tech on competing defense exports and not showing enough support for the asian pivot.

      • TV Monitor

        Tachomanx

        So I would be more worried about the embattled KF-X which faces cancelation after the U.S. denied Korea key technologies

        LOL, CEO of GE engines and Eurojet are engaged in heavy publicity campaign efforts to sway the public opinion in their favor right now.

      • Tachomanx

        And still won’t help Korea’s case much as the U.S. doesn’t like Korea rising as a defense competitor using it’s technology.

        It is a mostly a view on the top echelons of the U.S. government. You can expect more transfer denials in the future, particularly if future Korean governments don’t show enough support for the country’s rebalance.

      • TV Monitor

        Tachomanx

        And still won’t help Korea’s case much as the U.S. doesn’t like Korea rising as a defense competitor using it’s technology.

        Military aviation is the last military industrial complex that the ROK needs US help on. It’s pretty much self-reliant on everything else, including anti-ballistic missile system.

      • Tachomanx

        Check on the components used in a lot of those toys, including your ships with AEGIS combat systems.

        Also, the THAAD talks getting further ahead seems to bely such a confidence in a system that won’t get completed and deployed in many years still, if ever.

      • TV Monitor

        Tachomanx

        ships with AEGIS combat systems.

        AEGIS system can be substituted with an enlarged version of local system.

      • Tachomanx

        Yet you guys went for the AEGIS all the same and I think are on the way to get more vessels with the same system. Not much faith on your own stuff?

      • Tachomanx

        Check on the components used in a lot of those toys, including your ships with AEGIS combat systems.

        Also, the THAAD talks getting further ahead seems to bely such a confidence in a system that won’t get completed and deployed in many years still, if ever.