This is the X-2, Japan’s first domestically produced stealth fighter. Despite its not-so-stealthy paint job, it’s said to effectively avoid the gaze of enemy radar systems.
The X-2—previously known as ATD-X, for Advanced Technology Demonstrator X—was manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The primary goal is to replace the country’s aging fleet of fighter aircraft, and because Japan (or anybody else) cannot purchase Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors, they developed their own aircraft with similar characteristics, spending $440 million so far.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense showed off the airplane at Nagoya Airport in Toyoyama today. X-2 is expected to make its maiden flight sometime after mid-February. If all goes to plan, Japan will be the fourth nation to fly its own stealth fighter jet—joining a club currently made up of the US, Russia, and China.
Photos: Emily Wang/AP