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X-2 Stealth Japan Jet Goes for Historic, Successful Test Flight

Image: X-2 Stealth Japan Jet Goes for Historic, Successful Test Flight
A prototype of the first Japan-made stealth fighter X-2 Shinshin, formerly called ATD-X, takes off to mark its maiden flight at Nagoya Airfield, also known as Komaki Airport, in Toyoyama town, Aichi prefecture, central Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 22, 2016. (Kyodo via Reuters)

By    |   Monday, 25 Apr 2016 02:07 PM

Japan's X-2 stealth jet went on a test flight Friday morning, beginning a two-year test phase to determine whether the country should move beyond the demo stage or simply buy other fighter jets from the United States.

The homegrown stealth fighter, called the Advanced Technology Demonstrator, or X-2, flew about 15 kilometers and traveled from Nagoya Airport to the Air Self-Defense Force Gifu Air Field, reported The Japan Times.

"The maiden flight was significant to secure the necessary capability for a next-generation fighter jet," Japan's defense minister Gen Nakatani told reporters. "We can expect technological innovation in the aerospace industry as well as application of that technology in different fields."

Japan's testing of its own homegrown stealth fighter comes at a time when China has been flexing its military muscle in the South China Sea, according to the military website Foxtrot Alpha.

"Friday's test flight puts Japan alongside the U.S., Russia and geopolitical rival China as nations that have flown stealth planes," wrote Foxtrot Alpha. "It's an attempt by Japan's defense industry to stay relevant and be taken seriously for international projects, all as China and South Korea are also developing fifth-generation fighters.
 
"And with China's continued claims to disputed islands being used as military bases in the South China Sea, Japan clearly wants to send a signal that it won’t take that lying down," Foxtrot Alpha continued.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries stated that the test pilot described the X-2's handling as "extremely stable," CNN wrote.

The twin-engine jet went through a series of maneuvers, which included climbing, descent, and circling, CNN reported.

Hideaki Watanabe, head of Japan's Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency, told The Japan Times that the X-2  "will give Japan bargaining power" for future joint development projects.

"The X-2 remains a prototype that could inspire future production jets, if the country goes that route at all," wrote Foxtrot Alpha. "It will be fascinating to see what happens with it, but the white-and-red jet could be seen as the face of Japan's rapidly changing approach to defense."

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Japan's X-2 stealth jet went on a test flight Friday morning, beginning a two-year test phase to determine whether the country should move beyond the demo stage or simply buy other fighter jets from the United States.
stealth, japan, jet
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2016-07-25
Monday, 25 Apr 2016 02:07 PM
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