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Friday, April 22, 2016

Japan’s Stealth Jet Makes Successful First Flight

On April 22, 2016, Japan’s first stealth fighter jet soared into the sky - joining the select ranks of countries with the technological skill and money to produce a stealth aircraft—China, Russia, and the U.S.

The flight is even more impressive because Japan has refrained from manufacturing its own jets and bombers since the country agreed to constraints placed upon it after its role in WWII.

Japan has no armed forces per details inscribed in its Constitution written originally by WWII victors the United States.

But, with both China and Russia buzzing its own warplanes over southwestern and norther islands under question of who actually owns them, Japan has been looking to ramp up its defensive posture on the global stage.

The new Japanese stealth jet - the X-2 jet—flew from Nagoya airport, with a small crowd of people in attendance, lifting off in the clear, morning sky.

Two Japanese jets fighters (purchased from other-country manufacturers) escorted the X-2 during its flight… not for protection, but to help record flight data.

The single-pilot prototype safely landed at Gifu air base, north of Nagoya airport, after a 25-minute flight without any issues.

It was an "extremely stable" flight, the pilot was quoted as saying by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the main contractor.

The inaugural flight, which followed extensive ground tests, had been postponed due to bad weather and malfunctions of parts used in its escape system.

The X-2, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and 200 other firms, measures 14.2 meters (47 feet) long and 9.1 meters wide and was built as a successor to F-2 fighter jets developed jointly with the U.S.

First delivery of an X-2 stealth jet to the Japan Defense Ministry is expected to occur as early as May 2016.

The X-2 project was initiated in 2009, with some ¥39.4 billion (US$332 million) spent to develop the aircraft.

Andrew Joseph

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