22 April 2016
Japan on Friday became the fourth country to test-fly its own stealth jet, creating momentum to upgrade a lackluster domestic aerospace industry at a time when China continues to agitate in the region.
According to the Defense Ministry, the Advanced Technology Demonstrator, called X2, took off from Nagoya airport in Aichi Prefecture at 8:47 a.m. Friday morning. The demonstrator, which will undergo a further two years of testing before a decision is made on whether to develop a homegrown next-generation stealth fighter, flew about 15 kilometers and touched down at the Air Self-Defense Force’s Gifu Air Field at 9:13 a.m.
“The maiden flight was significant to secure the necessary capability for a next-generation fighter jet,” Defense Minister Gen Nakatani told reporters in Tokyo after the flight. “We can expect technological innovation in the aerospace industry as well as application of that technology in different fields.”
… “(Japan’s) national pride is at stake: China and South Korea are both working on fifth-generation fighters; Japan cannot be seen as being left behind,” said Richard Bitzinger, of the Military Transformations Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 25/04/2016