Apr 17, 2014
Japan's indigenous stealth jet prototype 'to fly this year'
The ATD-X, also known as Shinshin, is being developed by the ministry's Technical Research and Development Institute, with the main contractor of the project being MHI. It has been designed to be a stealthy air-superiority fighter with enhanced manoeuvrability. The Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) will use it to research advanced technologies and system integration, after which it plans to produce a 'sixth-generation' fighter encompassing i3 (informed, intelligent and instantaneous) concepts and counter-stealth capabilities.
Japan's plans to develop an 'F-3' from the ADT-X could run into opposition from the United States, however, which has blocked Tokyo's attempts to develop an indigenous fighter in the past.
With China and Russia deploying the Chengdu J-20 and Sukhoi PAK-FA T-50 fifth-generation aircraft respectively, Japan's development of a fast stealth fighter is becoming vital to national air defence. Japan has 28 radar sites effective at detecting third- and fourth-generation fighters from a long distance, but with the appearance of fifth-generation fighters, it's not known how they will perform.