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Japanese Defense Ministry plans to conduct performance tests on ATD-X fighter jet prototype in 2015

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Aviation defence equipment technology
Performance tests on ATD-X fighter jet prototype expected for 2015
 
 
 
Japanese Defense Ministry plans to conduct performance tests on ATD-X fighter jet prototype for 2015
 
The Japanese Defense Ministry’s efforts to develop an all-domestic fighter jet, Japan’s first since World War II, are moving into full swing. A test model under development by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. is expected to make its maiden flight in mid-January, reported today the Japan Times.
     
The Japanese Defense Ministry’s efforts to develop an all-domestic fighter jet, Japan’s first since World War II, are moving into full swing. A test model under development by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. is expected to make its maiden flight in mid-January, reported today the Japan Times. The ATD-X jet fighter is being built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in co-operation with the Japanese Ministry of Defense's Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI)
     
The Japan's Defense Ministry plans to conduct performance tests in fiscal 2015 and decide by fiscal 2018 whether to put the plane into use.

The domestic development of a fighter jet is a long-cherished wish,” a senior ministry official said. “We hope to achieve it by any means.

The ATD-X, also known as 'Shinshin' meaning 'Spirit of the heart', is being built by MHI's plant at Komaki Minami in Nagoya. It has been designed to be a stealthy air-superiority fighter with enhanced manoeuvrability. The 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.

The test model, which is 14 meters long, 9 meters wide and 4 meters high, has stealth capabilities that make it difficult to detect by radar, as the fuselage has a radio-wave absorbing coating made of carbon fiber.

The engines were developed by IHI Corp.

In the 1980s, Japan planned to develop the F-2 fighter on its own, but it eventually settled for joint development with the United States, as Washington requested.

We cannot indefinitely rely on a foreign country for fighter development,” said a senior official with the Air Self-Defense Force, noting that the security environment has seen rapid changes due in part to the rise of China.

The ministry began research on domestic fighter development in fiscal 2009, spending a total of ¥39.2 billion ($325 mn) through fiscal 2014. In its budget request for fiscal 2015, which starts in April, the ministry plans to seek ¥41.2 billion ($341 mn), more than the total for the past six years, to speed up development, officials said.

Behind its obsession with domestic development, the ministry is setting its sights on a Japanese fighter that can be used as the basis for international joint development.

The relaxation in April 2014 of the ban on arms exports allows Japan to provide military technologies and parts to other countries under certain conditions.

By gaining experience in domestic development and acquiring related technologies, Japan will be able to take the initiative for future joint development,” a government official said.