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A Japanese Stealth Fighter?

Japan has recently announced that it will test fly its own stealth fighter, the Mitsubishi ATD-X, in 2014. This announcement was not a complete surprise as since 2009, it has provided $ 473 million dollars in funding to this program after it became apparent the US will not share its F-22 technology.

The design of the ATD-X is similar to other fourth and fifth generation fighters. It is a single-seater powered by two engines. Right now, there is a 1/3 model of the plane.

Some of the features of the ATD-X include a Fly-By-Optics system where, instead of using wires, the plane uses optical fibres to transfer information. These fibres transfer information at a much higher rate and are immune to electro magnetic disturbances.

The radar of the plane will be an actively electronically scanned array (AESA) radar called the "Multifunction RF Sensor" that is intended to have capabilities such as electronic countermeasures (ECM), electronic support measures (ESM), communications functions, and possibly even microwave weapon functions.

Another feature will be the "Self Repairing Flight Control Capability" that will allow the aircraft to detect failures or damages on its flight control surfaces so that it can use the remaining flight control surfaces to continue flying the plane.

It is interesting to note that just two months ago, China test flew its own stealth fighter, the J-20 and last year, Russia test flew its stealth fighter, the T-50. Currently, the US is the only country that has operational stealth fighters but with so many countries developing their own, this will certainly change in the near future.

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