Japan Unveils First Stealth Fighter

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by Rushil51, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. Rushil51

    Rushil51 Regular Member

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    http://www.wsj.com/articles/japan-unveils-first-stealth-fighter-1453977421


    NAGOYA, Japan—Japan on Thursday unveiled its first radar-evading stealth aircraft, aiming to close a gap with neighbors such as China and Russia, which have been flying fighter planes equipped with the technology for more than five years.

    Confronted with regional challenges such as China building artificial islands in the South China Sea and North Korea testing nuclear devices, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abehas eased postwar restrictions on the country’s military and is trying to bolster its limited weapons-building capabilities.

    In the latest move, the Ministry of Defense showed off a test aircraft called X-2 in a heavily guarded hangar at a factory here that is operated by Japan’s biggest military contractor, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. Ministry officials said the plane would perform its first test flight as early as mid-February.

    At 14 meters (46-feet) in length, the ¥40 billion ($340 million) red and white-painted X-2 is smaller than a standard jet fighter. It is unarmed and its engines are underpowered. Analysts say it would take many years for Japan to develop it into an actual warplane.

    [​IMG]ENLARGE
    A member of the Japan Self-Defense Forces stands guard in front of the X-2 test plane.PHOTO: TOMOHIRO OHSUMI/BLOOMBERG NEWS
    But that may not be the point. Rather than aiming to build its own plane, they say, Japan may be signaling its hopes of joining the U.S. or other allies in developing a fighter through an international partnership—a way for allies to develop ever more expensive weapons systems. By joining the small club of countries that possess stealth technology, including the U.S., Russia and China, Japan can show that it brings something to the table.

    “In order to participate in a project as an equal partner, Japan has to offer knowledge, experience or technologies worthy of an equal partner,” said aerospace analystYoshitomo Aoki.

    A postwar policy of pacifism, including restrictions on weapons exports, made it difficult for Japan take part in international partnerships such as the Joint Strike Fighter, which led to the development of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35. But Mr. Abe’s government in 2014 eased the ban on exports in an effort to boost the competitiveness of Japan’s arms industry.

    Japan has ordered 42 F-35s, which are expected to replace the country’s aging fleet of F-4 fighters. Japan is weighing options for eventually replacing another fighter, theMitsubishi-built F-2, based on the U.S. F-16.

    That is where the X-2 could come in. The U.S. refused to export its most advanced stealth fighter, the F-22, to Japan, which wanted to buy the plane. The search for a replacement for the F-2 could overlap with U.S. plans to develop a new generation of fighters beyond the F-22.

    Ministry of Defense officials said Thursday that they would decide by March 2019 whether to make a fighter domestically, develop one with international partners or import one. They said they had begun exchanging information with other countries but declined to name them.

    The X-2’s stealthy features include a special coating on the canopy that houses the pilot, as well as a carbon-fiber composite material that absorbs radar waves, said Hirofumi Doi,program manager at the Ministry of Defense’s procurement agency, in an interview before the Thursday unveiling.

    Demonstrating these and other technologies “puts them in a better position to negotiate with foreign manufacturers on the specifications and technologies involved in any joint development project,” said Lance Gatling, president of Nexial Research, an aerospace consulting firm.

    The X-2 will also bolster Japan’s defenses in another way, Mr. Doi said. Because China and Russia have developed radar-evading jets, “we can come up with countermeasures by learning what stealth technology is all about,” he said.

    Russia flew its first stealth fighter in 2010 and China followed a year later, though each country’s programs have experienced delays and other setbacks. The U.S. has flown stealth aircraft since the 1980s.

    The X-2 also reflects the growing ambitions of Mitsubishi, which made the legendary World War II-era Zero fighter and now makes wings for the Boeing 787 jetliner. A passenger airliner developed by the company, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, completed its first test flight in November, though delivery of the plane to airline customers has been delayed repeatedly—most recently until 2018.

    Mitsuru Hamada, chief engineer in the aircraft division of Mitsubishi Heavy’s integrated space systems division, said he hoped Japan would decide to build a fighter. More than 200 companies were involved in developing the test plane alone, so doing so would “bolster the entire aerospace industry,” he said.
     
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  3. salute

    salute Senior Member Senior Member

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  4. salute

    salute Senior Member Senior Member

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  5. spikey360

    spikey360 Crusader Senior Member

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    Great news. Knowing how the Japanese are good with technology, it is a matter of years before they have a combat prototype and a few years after that to make production. Probably we will see a Mitsubishi stealth fighter by 2025 ( or earlier).
    China must be feeling very scared now. (As is US, who don't really trust the Japanese)
     
  6. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    On the contrast, Japanese lacks too much key techs for building up the next generation fighter. If you look at the size of this jet, that is clearly a demonstrator, or conceptual plane. They are expecting Americans to fill the holes.

    Why? They are still light years away from putting this jet into operation. At the same time, there will around 45 F-35 joining Japanese air force and American is deploying 14 F-22 in Japan.

    American can't care less. The experience of F-2 tells them that Japanese can't do anything without their aid.
     
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  7. sasum

    sasum Atheist but not Communists. Senior Member

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    Considering Japan is the most important ally (read lackey) of US in Asia, they will have easy access to all key technologies from US unlike India. Pity..
     
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  8. spikey360

    spikey360 Crusader Senior Member

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    Of course, they maybe lacking key technologies. But then again, the Japanese are not exactly technologically deficient or backward nation.
    Yes, there were reports that they were trying to get the F22 "at all costs". But then again, if they really were so dead set on a stealth fighter, don't think they will wait for the US any more, especially since the Yanks were reluctant to help. (Hah, even Britain didn't get F22).
    Of course the X-2 is a technology demonstrator. I remember the times when PAK FA was a tech demonstrator as well :)
    :D I was half joking when I wrote that comment. Yes, US is light years ahead, no doubt, and of course, if all fails, they can drop "The Bomb(s)".
     
  9. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Not true!
    Last time their effort of building F-2 showed how easy they can access to all key technologies from US.
    They wanted to build a F-16 plus, but the Americans turned it into a F-4 plus.
     
  10. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well, in the field of modern aviation technology, they are backward nation.

    What else can they do? Last time they independently design a fighter was 1940s.

    In Russia and China, the tech demonstrator has different meaning against western system. For them, the demonstrator is generally the first stage of prototype integrated all the necessary designs for next generation plane. So, when people see a Russian or Chinese demonstrator, they know that is a real project. In USA and Europe, demonstrators are generally built to verify technology in certain area, sometimes it is a new shape, sometimes it is a new fly control, etc.
     
  11. gpawar

    gpawar Regular Member

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    Japan Succeeds In Test Flight Of First Stealth Fighter Jet

    Japan’s first stealth fighter jet successfully took to the skies today as the country joins a select group of world military powers wielding the radar-dodging technology.

    Technological super power Japan, despite strict constitutional constraints on the use of military force imposed after World War II, has one of the world’s most advanced defence forces and the development of the stealth fighter comes as it faces new security challenges in the form of China’s expanding force posture.

    The domestically developed X-2 jet took off from Nagoya airport in central Japan on its maiden test flight as dozens of aviation enthusiasts watching the event erupted in applause as it lifted off into the clear morning sky.

    Television footage showed the red-and-white aircraft roaring into the air, escorted by two Japanese military fighters that were collecting flight data.

    The single-pilot prototype safely landed at Gifu air base, north of Nagoya airport, after a 25-minute flight with “no particular problems,” said an official at the defence ministry’s acquisition agency.

    The inaugural flight, which followed extensive ground tests, had been postponed due to bad weather and malfunctions of parts used in its escape system.

    “The first flight has a very significant meaning that can secure technologies needed for future fighter development,” Defence Minister Gen Nakatani told reporters. “We can also expect it can be applied to other fields and technological innovation in the entire aviation industry,” Nakatani added.

    The X-2, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 200 other firms, measures 14.2 metres (47 feet) long and 9.1 metres wide and was built as a successor to F-2 fighter jets developed jointly with the United States. Its delivery to the defence ministry is expected as early as next month and the acquisition agency “will continue analysing data and check its stealth technology capability,” the agency official told AFP.


    Presently, only the United States, Russia and China have been internationally recognised as having successfully developed and flown manned stealth jets, the agency said. Japan began the project in 2009 and has reportedly spent about 39.4 billion yen ($332 million) to develop the aircraft. In November Japan’s first domestically produced passenger jet, also developed by Mitsubishi Heavy, made its maiden test flight, a landmark development for the country after being barred from developing aircraft following its defeat in World War II.

    http://idrw.org/japan-succeeds-in-test-flight-of-first-stealth-fighter-jet/ .
     
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  12. Sourav Kumar

    Sourav Kumar Regular Member

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    If this is true, then good news for both Japan and India. Now maruti suzuki cars are exported from India. Later japanese planes can be exported.
     
  13. sasum

    sasum Atheist but not Communists. Senior Member

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    Is there any chance of India being co-opted in the project, given Shinzo Abe's personal equation with Modi ?
     
  14. spikey360

    spikey360 Crusader Senior Member

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    Although am no expert in this matter, just an enthusiast, I am afraid the answer is no. So far our own AMCA is only past the drawing board stage whilst they are already flying their prototype. So I don't think they'll be interested in collaboration at such a late stage. Furthermore they themselves lack neither money nor high tech knowhow, I don't see ourselves cutting a deal like we did with the Russians for PAK-FA.
     
  15. sasum

    sasum Atheist but not Communists. Senior Member

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    Right. I am amazed, how quickly Japs moved. They started the project in 2009 and flying a prototype (or TD) in 2016 !!
    Japs may be a tech giant in other fields but they were late-starter in aeronautics than India. I thought with Tejas experience behind us, we could contribute something to their project. Anyway, as you say, they are in dearth of neither money nor tech competence.
     
  16. south block

    south block Regular Member

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    Plz edit your post japs is a racist slur
     
  17. Razor

    Razor CIDs from Tamilnadu Senior Member

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    It is short for Japanese.
    How is that racist slur??

    :dude:
     
  18. Illusive

    Illusive Senior Member Senior Member

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    interesting nozzle .
     
  19. Navnit Kundu

    Navnit Kundu Pika Hu Akbarrr!! Senior Member

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    Don't count on it. Regardless of the optics, Japan is firmly seated in the American sphere of influence and security order. They have the same strategic interests in keeping India from rising as any other existing power has : no one likes competition.

    If you leave the subjective atmospherics aside, and evaluate Japans policies, they have been against any strategic gains India has made, be it strategic or territorial. They screamed loudest after our nuclear tests, and even took anti-India stance on many issues due to the same. Not just that, just go to Youtube and pick up any Japanese news clipping mentioning India, their infographics show entire Kashmir as not being part of India. As opposed to US which occasionally shows Aksai Chin as Indian territory and POK as Pakistani and Russia shows POK as Indian territory but Aksai Chin as Chinese.

    We have great business ties with Japan, but they haven't really fructified into meaningful strategic ties despite what the Modi administration and media is trying to peg for the sake of sticking it to China. We used the Japan card to hedge against China in the railway bidding. We used the same card again by threatening to allow the Japs to do border construction near LAC. Nothing concrete ever came out of these threats. We have something to show with our partnership with Russia (Brahmos, SU30, T90) and Israel (Green Pine, Barak 8) at least, unlike Japan, but still people keep singing praises of Japan. There were even murmurs that Japan was going to help us with some submarine tech, again, phusss.

    We have been facing a problem with new assault rifles for the army, we did so many trials and cancelled so many tenders, made and dissolved so many prototypes, one would have appreciated if India and Japan could have initiated a joint venture to make rifles, if not submarines. We aren't even co-operating on a small thing like assault rifles and we are talking of a strategic partnership. It seems to me that Japan is just a card for us. We invite them to do joint exercises in Bay of Bengal to send signals to China, nothing more.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
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  20. sasum

    sasum Atheist but not Communists. Senior Member

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    Sorry, window of 30 minutes has elapsed !!
    I didnt know Japs is derogatory.
     
  21. Gessler

    Gessler Regular Member

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    Plus, we need to remember that Mitsubishi is a profit-driven company that runs on a corporate work ethic...unlike our state-run agencies for whom there is no incentive to perform or meet any deadline for that matter. They can literally sleep on the job, and still get paid and get pension.

    It is said that most workers at state-run shipyards (like MDL, GRSE etc.) work only 2 shifts unlike as in private yards where there are 3 shifts. Also, they begin their work clock hours behind schedule just so that they can claim over-time.

    Sorry to say...unless the state's monopoly in defence sector is not curbed, any level of competence simply cannot be expected.

    Once Private sector has been brought in, state run agencies like HAL might become like what happened to BSNL in telecom. Dead and buried.

    --

    Secondly, I simply refuse to agree Japanese were late-starter in aerospace industry. Infact, they are decades ahead of us in the sectors where they pursued indigenous development.

    Kawasaki C-1
    [​IMG]

    Kawasaki C-2
    [​IMG]

    Kawasaki P-1
    [​IMG]

    Mitsubishi Regional Jet MRJ-70/90
    [​IMG]

    Kawasaki C-1 STOL
    [​IMG]

    ShinMaywa US-2
    [​IMG]

    Kawasaki OH-1
    [​IMG]

    TACOM air-launched UAV
    [​IMG]

    ...and now they have this Mitsubishi X-2. This will develop into a true-blood 5th generation fighter worthy of replacing the F-2 fighter in service. Plus, some of the aircraft shown above are equipped with their own turbofan engines, like the F3, F7 and XF5 turbofans from the IHI Corp. which power everything from the T-4 trainer to the P-1 maritime patrol aircraft and the new X-2 fighter.

    In addition, they also license-build modified aircraft like the Mitsubishi F-2 fighter, S-70 BlackHawk helo etc.

    Believe it or not, we are kids compared to them in the aviation industry.
     

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