Japan's X-2 fighter jet prototype took to the skies

World Aviation Defense & Security News - Japan
Japan's X-2 fighter jet prototype took to the skies
After a short delay due to weather conditions, Japan's indigenously made X-2 fighter prototype finally took to the skies today morning, local media announced. The nation’s first stealth plane prototype, the X-2, took off from Nagoya airfield in central Japan around 8.50am, Defence Ministry Programme Manager Hirofumi Doi. The jet landed safely at Gifu Air Base in Gifu Prefecture at 9.13am, Doi said.
Japan X 2 fighter jet prototype took to the skies 640 001Japan's X-2 fighter jet prototype performing its maiden flight today at Nagoya airfield
The aircraft is a product of years of experience in fighter-aircraft manufacturing by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, which also made the A6M or Zero, the famous single-seat plane which made its mark during World War II. The X-2 could become the basis for a new fighter jet to replace the F-2, which entered service in 2000 and is also manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy, according to the Japanese defence ministry.

The defence ministry will study the flight data from Friday to make further developments to the aircraft, Doi said.

The government is due to make a decision on a replacement for the fighter jets by the end of March 2019.

If Japan decides to make a fighter-jet version of the stealth plane, its engines would be about three times the strength of those on the test version and the aircraft would need to be larger to store missiles, the ministry said in December.

The 14-metre-long X-2 is equipped with engines from IHI Corp and cost about US$366 million to develop, according to the ministry.