07 April 2016
Japan will soon fly its X-2 fifth-generation fighter jet for the first time, prompting the possibility of a renaissance in the country’s aircraft sector. To successfully challenge the West’s dominance of the global fighter aircraft business, Japan must synchronise many technological, economic, and political factors, a “harmonic convergence” that is hardly assured.
Japan will soon achieve something that it has not done since the 1940s – test-fly a totally indigenous fighter jet. In this case, it will be the X-2 Advanced Technology Demonstrator-Experimental (ATD-X), Tokyo’s contender for a state-of-the-art fifth-generation combat aircraft.
With the X-2, Japan is seeking to once again contest the long-standing dominance of the advanced fighter jet business by the United States and Europe. Since the end of World War II, a handful of countries – basically, the US, the USSR/Russia, Britain, France, and Sweden – have controlled the global fighter jet industry. Even today, perhaps 90 percent of all combat aircraft flown by all the world’s air forces are produced by these five countries, or are based on copies of their planes. In fact, one of the hardest things to do, because it is so intensely and extensively complex, is the design and development of modern fighter jets.
… Richard A. Bitzinger is Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Military Transformations Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 08/04/2016