Skip to comments.Japan's indigenous stealth fighter to fly this year amid arms race worries
Posted on 04/17/2014 5:22:10 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Development of ATD-X jet part of Tokyo's effort to upgrade its defence capabilities; analysts warn it could spark claims of arms race in Asia
The ATD-X's engines produce 5,000kg of thrust. Photo: SCMP
A prototype of Japan's first domestically produced stealth fighter will get airborne before the end of the year, a significant development in Tokyo's efforts to improve its defence capabilities.
Known as the Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X (ATD-X) fighter, the aircraft is being developed by the defence ministry's research institute and a number of private companies, primarily Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera told the Diet's defence committee on April 10 that he had recently visited Mitsubishi Heavy's plant at Komaki Minami. "There, I was briefed that the first flight will take place this year," he said.
[The jet] is a reaction to the rise of China [and] its attitude towards Japan GO ITO, MEIJI UNIVERSITY The single-seat, fifth-generation fighter - which has the unofficial name "Shinshin", meaning "Spirit of God" - bears a resemblance to the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter, with a twin tail configuration and raised pilot canopy.
The aircraft also has a 3-D thrust vectoring capability, a fly-by-optics flight control system and an advanced radar, as well as two turbofan engines that are each capable of producing 5,000kg of thrust on afterburner.
"This is a natural reaction to the rise of China, its massive investment in military equipment and its belligerent attitude towards Japan and other nations in the region," Go Ito, a professor of international relations at Tokyo's Meiji University, said.
"But I do anticipate that China and North Korea might claim that Japan is starting a new arms race in the region by developing this sort of aircraft, although it must be remembered that Beijing is deploying the Chengdu J-20," he added.
Another opponent of the project might be the United States, Ito said. That is because the ATD-X is an alternative to US-made aircraft.
"There is the possibility that Japan will consider a joint venture with other countries on the project, although there have been problems with this approach in the past," Ito said.
In the 1980s, Japan worked with a number of firms from the US on the FSX project, which was envisaged as Japan's next-generation fighter. Tokyo was disappointed when Washington declined to go ahead with the project in its latter stages.
Ito said Tokyo was even more disappointed when many of the technological advances that Japan had shared with its ally on the FSX later appeared on US aircraft.
Japan has already committed to purchasing 42 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters, also known as the Raptor, including a number of its vertical takeoff and landing variant, which will permit the aircraft to land on Japan's new Hyuga Class "helicopter carriers".
Washington is reportedly keen for Japan to buy more Raptors, instead of developing its own aircraft.
The ATD-X project is part of Japan's broader effort to realign its defences and upgrade its capabilities. The defence ministry's budget request for the present fiscal year increased 2.9 per cent from the previous year, rising to ¥4.9 trillion (HK$370 billion).
The Maritime Self-Defence Force was the biggest beneficiary of the additional spending, followed by the self-defence force's air arm. The MSDF is pushing ahead with vessels designed to put troops ashore on remote islands in the Japanese archipelago.
That is one mean-ass looking plane.
Well then why not make it a joint venture with the U.S.? Perhaps it could complement the F-22s or replace some of the F-35s that are having so many issues?
It’s really elegant looking. I think Japan would have an export market for those.
If it is Japanese, don’t be surprised if it has leapfrogged the king of skies, the US F22 which has decades old technology.
Visibility to the rear probably isn't too great, but I don't think it is intended to dogfight. Probably mission parameters are: you never see it coming.
hey I am all for the Japs re-arming. Anything to give the Chinese a bit of diarrhea. Plus they need to stop relying so much on us.
The program has just completed over 15000 hours flight testing .
To put that into perspective most air forces of the world do not fly their entire fleet of fighter that much in a year or more
If it is Japanese, dont be surprised if it has leapfrogged the king of skies, the US F22 which has decades old technology.
It’s not going to leap frog much of anything if it really has engines with 5000kg of thrust
It boils down to $$$. Lockheed-Martin is looking at multi billion dollar contracts, and the scum in DC are looking at kickbacks from Lockheed Martin and cushy jobs doing nothing at high pay (which incidentally is recycled back in program costs to the taxpayers) if they retire or get voted out.
The F-35 is moving into serial production and will be in squadron service by 2016. Not saying it’s a perfect aircraft. It’s not. But enough of the development problems are behind it that the design can be produced.
This article seems to be confusing the F-22 Raptor with the F-35 Lightning II. Two very different beasts.
“Its not going to leap frog much of anything if it really has engines with 5000kg of thrust”
The raptor engines have about 35000 foot lbs of thrust.
If the number 5000 is metric then this is 5000 kilogram meters of thrust or about 5000x2.2 lbs. per kg x3.1 ft per meter or 6.8 times 5000 ft lbs or 34000 foot lbs. of thrust.
Pretty much the same as the f22 raptor.
Japan wanted the F-22 really really bad.
Agreeing with another comment, 20,000lbs thrust from two engines combined seems kind of wimpy, doubt they can make it supercruise.
Agreed. Looks pretty sweet.
Please read post 12
5000 kG meters of thrust equals 35,000 ft lbs. of thrust.
“That is one mean-ass looking plane.”
It is. But keep in mind that it is still just a flying prototype. It will not have a full electronics package (no airborne radar) and no weapons. Prototypes often fly with an engine other than the one that is intended to prove the aerodynamics and gather flight data. We’ve seen projects where the intended engine never arrives at all. Performance targets usually don’t get met when the thrust isn’t there.
There’s a lot of criticism on this forum for the F-35. Keep in mind that whatever the potential for this new Japanese prototype fighter, it’s still just a prototype early in it’s design curve.
Projects like this can take a decade to move from this point to squadron service. Look no further than the Indian experience with their indigenous light-weight fighter/trainer, the Tejas.
I hear they're planning to put rear view mirrors on the fuselage out front of the cockpit.
Either that or rear view TV cams.
Looks a bit like an F-22.
I’d like to see them build Valkyries and Alphas.
What is interesting to me, is this article was not Japanese.
This article, is from Hong Kong.
China has now taken over as the number one exporter in the world.
We need to bring back American industry from there.
This issue is big, and growing.
How *dare* the Japanese respond to commie threats by making moves toward better self defense capability?!? /s
They need at least 1000 of these to go with existing aviation assets.
Looks like a Japanese response to the US not selling them F22’s.
Developed their own...good for them. Hope it works out.
Messing with China is one thing. Japan messes with Lockheed-Martin's cash flows, and they're gonna get nuked. :)
I did not see the meters in the article. Yes 35Kf-lbs of thrust per engine is respectable. If mated with a supercruise inlet, which is necessary for kinematic defeat of missiles and interceptors, then it might be a good package.
thrust is measured in ft lbs
the article does not mention meters but just mentions kilograms
I am assuming they meant to say kilogram meters.
I doubt anyone would measure something in kilogram feet or pound meters.
5000 kg of thrust?
Isn’t that like 11000 pounds? Seems underpowered
Normally it’s kN - KiloNewtons in the metric for Thrust
At least in every engine spec I’ve seen published.
I think the author got his metric hosed up.
if you take 5000 kn and change it to ft lbs you get 40,000 ft lbs which is about the same as the f22 raptor.
The Japanese could very well in the near future find a new era in advanced weaponry since its blatantly obvious USA is being neutered and sold off to China.
“All the best stuff comes from Japan”
They are at least fully capable of it, they had better aircraft before WW2, they had better factories AFTER WW2.
They make better motorcycles and as we all know superior electronics.
China builds craps, LOTS of crap, big time mega gross amount of disposable crap, built just to do possibly more than just one goal, maybe one mission.
America used to have an unbelievable manufacturing base, not anymore, the steel mills are gone, so are the shipyards. Mom and pop building a certain key part during WW2 then are being tased, the dog shot and their homes sold to the OWS for a dollar.
japan is good, they hate Islam which is VERY good.
I like Japan.
Only problem is the article doesn’t say KiloNewtons, It says kilograms.
Can anyone point to a Japanese aircraft engine manufacturer currently putting out a 40000 lb thrust class engine?
BTW: In the F-22, the Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 has a
Dry thrust of 23,500 lb (104 kN) each and max thrust with afterburner of 35,000+ lb (156+ kN) each
I see the point you’re trying to make but you’re off by a factor of 10.
Japan has already committed to purchasing 42 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters, also known as the Raptor,
I'm beginning to think that this is an English translation of an original Japanese article which may have led us down the discussion path we are having.
Make that an original CHINESE article