Popular Mechanics reports on Japan’s unveiling of a prototype fighter jet, Thursday. This fighter jet will serve the public as glimpse of what the future of fighter jets may look like and function, according to PM.
The Japanese fighter prototype has been dubbed the X-2 stealth aircraft and it looks like something straight out of Star Wars.
The Japanese Prototype is expected to lead the wave for sixth-generation aircraft fighting technology. The X-2 was also designed to counter advanced Chinese fighters.
CNN reports that this prototype will be Japan’s first domestically-made air craft fighter. Japan currently has an array of fighter jets on order, but the X-2 will be their own creation.
The Japanese Fighter was unveiled to the press at Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The X-2 also goes by the nickname “Shinshin” meaning “Spirit of the Heart” as the prototype also proudly displays the countries flag colors, red and white.
Engineers began work on the fighter sometime in the mid-2000s and have been ardently developing the fighter jet for more than a decade. Now it is scheduled to finally take flight, for the first time, next month.
Some visual specs of the Japanese fighter include a length of 46-feet with a wingspan of 29-feet. The aircraft has also large bubble canopy for proficient view. It is a twin-engine design which will utilize two Ishikawa Heavy Industries low-bypass turbofan engines for optimal thrust.
Something that will set the new Japanese Fighter apart from the previous fighters are the thrust vectoring paddles. These game-changing paddles extend from the engine exhausts.
This will enable the flying machine to allow the pilot to control the direction of the exhaust. This could allow for some UFO-like maneuverability in effect. The X-2 will also serve as a a stealth fighter.
As for weaponizing the fighter, Japan has developed already developed the Mitsubishi AAM-4B, a long-range air-to-air missile with an active electronically scanning array (AESA) radar as a seeker complete with homing functionality.
AAM-4B was already at the forefront of fighter jet technology in general for being the first to utilize AESA radars, which are just now becoming standard on fighters.
The “Shinshin” still has a ways to be an effective combat fighter however. Japan’s Technical Research and Development Institute is still looking into, infrared stealth, fiber optics, self-repairing flight control technologies, building air-to-air radar into the actual skin of the aircraft itself, and battlefield data networking in order for the fighter to be considered complete.
The Diplomat goes into detail as to what precisely the X-2 goals are by a statement as quoted on the website.
“If completed, the F-3 is supposed to incorporate some cutting-edge technology. The aircraft will be fitted with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The radar will have capabilities for electronic countermeasures, communications functions, and possibly even microwave weapon functions. The Shinshin is planned to have a flight-by-optics flight control system. Data is transmitted by optical fibers rather than wires. In this way data is transmitted faster and is immune to electromagnetic disturbance. Furthermore, the new Japanese aircraft will have a so-called self repairing flight control capability. It will allow the aircraft to detect failures or damage in its flight control surfaces.”
The fighter prototype faces other roadblocks as well. The firing systems on the prototype still require a substantive amount of code deciphering in order to function correctly–and the task has proven to be abysmally complex, even for the world’s top engineers and researchers in Japan. Figuring this out could take many years alone.
Nevertheless, completing the prototype will be no walk in the park for Japan. PM says that the nation may need the assistance of the United States or Europe for to complete the project.
Get an eyeful of “Shinshin” in all of her glory here,
Could the Japan-made fighter jet, Shinshin be the future of fighter jets?
[Image via defenceaviation.com]