Japan tests first stealth fighter jet of indigenous make

Tokyo, Feb 25 (IANS) Japan successfully concluded on Thursday the ground test of the prototype of its X-2 stealth fighter jet — the first fully indigenous model — making the country the fourth in the world to possess such an aircraft.

The X-2 ground test took place on the runway of Nagoya airport in central Japan, under the watch of the country’s Defence Minister Gen Nakatani, who said the project is progressing steadily, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The plane – Shinshin — the code-name for the classified project till its official presentation in January — has been developed by the defence ministry in collaboration with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 200 other Japanese firms.

Developing the plane has taken seven years at a cost of $35 million, and is a key step towards upgrading the Japanese Army and also the country’s recent plan to export military equipment.

The X-2 brings great hope for Japan’s aviation future as well as for technological innovation in the domestic industry, said Nakatani.

The prototype, scheduled to carry out its first test flight soon, stands out for its high manoeuverability, and fuselage-design which makes it practically undetectable to radars.

The US Army already has several operational models of fighter jets with stealth capability, while Russia and China too have conducted tests with such aircrafts.

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