On Thursday, January 28, 2016, Japan unveiled its first-ever stealth fighter jet, the X-2 at the airport in Komaki-shi, Aichi-ken, Japan.
As a stealth fighter, the X-2 helps the plane avoid being detected by radar.
Developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.—the same folks who brought terror to the skies with its Zero back in WWII—the X-2 is 14.2 meters (47 feet, of course) long and 9.1 meters (29.86 feet) wide and was built as a successor to the F-2 fighter jets Mitsubishi developed jointly with the United States.
The first official flight of the X-2 will occur sometime in mid-February.
As of now, the only other nations to have been recognized as having developed and flown a manned stealth jet are: U.S., Russia and China.
After spending some ¥39.4-billion (US $332-million) to develop the fighter plane—which seems cheap to me—the first delivery of an X-2 to Japan’s Defence Ministry is scheduled for March of 2017 (next year).
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries also designed and built Japan’s first domestically-produced passenger jet, first flying back in November of 2015.
These two planes from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are noteworthy because Japan was forcibly barred from building its own aircraft after WWII.
Personally, I have no problem in Japan designing and building aircraft for its own use—whether commercial or military.
It’s been 70 years for cripes sake. The Japan of 2016 isn’t at all like the Japan of the 1930s-1945.
If the plane is a success, perhaps Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will be able to parlay the X-2 into international sales to like-minded friendly nations.
Article originally published in my blog about Japan back on January 29, 2016 HERE.
Images by AFP/Toshifumi Kitamura.