Japanese Defense: Stealth fighter prototype unveiled


A prototype of the X-2 advanced stealth fighter.


TOKYO — A demonstration unit of the X-2 stealth fighter made its debut Thursday, with the Japanese-built experimental aircraft promising greater maneuverability than other stealth planes.

The jet will take its maiden flight the week of Feb. 15 or Feb. 22. Designer and builder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will hand it over to the Ministry of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency at the end of March. The X-2 is under development as the government prepares to replace the F-2 fighter, due for retirement around fiscal 2028.

As a stealth aircraft, the X-2 incorporates radar-wave-absorbing material and a body designed to avoid detection. Thrust vector systems lend to its heightened maneuverability. The agency will test stealth, flight performance, control systems and other technologies.

The U.S. military’s F-35 stealth fighter “is not that maneuverable, but the X-2 is stealthy while boasting high maneuverability,” said Takahiro Yoshida, project director at the Japanese defense ministry’s acquisitions agency. He declined to identify possible international development partners but said the agency is “gathering information and exchanging opinions.”

Full article: Japanese Defense: Stealth fighter prototype unveiled (Nikkei Asian Review)

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