Japan unveils first stealth fighter

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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zero-one

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Unread post31 Jan 2016, 14:04

charlielima223 wrote:
without a powerful enough engine I don't think the X-2 or future F-3 would be in the same league. It would still be good just not "Raptor level" good.


Well it's a bit early to tell, yes they don't have the technical expertise of the US and certainly not the budget to match the ATF program. But they do have time on their side.

Technology has advanced since the 16 years that the 1st F-22 rolled out. And by the time the first F-3 is scheduled to roll out (2027) the first F-22 would have been 30 years old.

the F-3 will never achieve what the F-22 has achieved which was to be 30-40 years more advanced than anything flying, but on the other hand the F-3 of 2027 may be comparable to the F-22 of 1997.

Anyway from what we can see and what they claim, it looks like the Japanese are very keen on making a very high performance platform, perhaps to match or surpass the F-22, at least in the extreme slow speed regime.

Next Gen AESA is also being claimed.

Here is a good read on what is known from the ATD-X program so far
http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/everyt ... 1755710322


Today the world got to know the jet that’s critical to Japan’s indigenous fighter design future. Until now, photos have been far from detailed and only showed limited angles. With today’s official unveiling, the world has a clearer view of what to expect from the X-2.

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A production variant, or some design based off the information that will be garnered by testing the X-2, is the end goal for Japan. The idea is for this aircraft’s design, and the subsystems that will fly on it, to be melded into a new indigenous fighter that will take to the skies towards the end of 2020s.

You may notice it almost looks like a jet trainer version of the F-22 Raptor. That should come as no surprise. Beyond using existing designs for a stepping off point, Japan had a serious lust for F-22 and offered to buy them really under any circumstances. This was controversially denied and the F-22 was made unexportable by law. Fast forward almost a decade and Japan seems to be trying to build their own.

Everything We Know About The X-2, The Future Of Japanese Stealth Fighter Design

The Mitsubishi ATD-X, now dubbed the X-2, was actually unveiled a year and a half ago, albeit in a much less intimate manner than the media event that occurred today. But with today’s reveal came many more details about this very important design.

The most notable feature is the the X-2's elaborate thrust vectoring system. It uses a trio of “paddles” on each engine exhaust that allow for independent high-angle deflection of each jet’s exhaust. Similar multi-dimensional thrust vectoring concepts have been used in the past, most notably by the X-31, which still remains the most maneuverable fighter-sized jet ever created.

Here is the X-31 in action:

The paddle-style thrust vectoring setup was also used on NASA F/A-18 HARV (High-Alpha Research Vehicle) test aircraft. HARV was also super-maneuverable and able to maintain controlled flight in the post-stall environment, even at extreme angles of attack.

The inclusion of this same sort of the thrust vectoring system, one that is not really conducive to a stealthy design, means Japan is looking to explore the realm of super-maneuverability as much as stealth with the X-2. There seem to be some superficial edge alignment design elements present in the paddles themselves which may reduce their radar reflectivity from certain angles, but by and large they are a hindrance to the jet’s radar supposed low radar cross-section. These paddles could be replaced by nozzles after certain test points have been reached.

As far as low-observability to radar goes, the X-2 has many of the features seen on modern stealthy fighter designs optimized to elude X, C and Ku band radars. These features include saw-toothed edges on major access panels and on articulating doors used in flight, such as the gear doors. The nose section has a sharp chine-line like those found on all stealthy aircraft. Twin tails are canted outward, and the aircraft has a smooth skin with a contentiously changing radius. Its intake ducts also appear to be shaped to shield the highly reflective faces of the jet’s turbofan engines.

Everything We Know About The X-2, The Future Of Japanese Stealth Fighter Design

The aircraft appears to be in an evolutionary state somewhere shy of the F-35's progenitor, the X-35. The fact that it really is a testbed aircraft for multiple technologies, not a single integrated design, at least yet, makes its lack of sophistication understandable.

Some features needed for initial test flights, especially those concerning flight envelope expansion, negate the design’s attempts at a low radar signature, but retrofits and/or follow-on prototypes will most likely eliminate those features (flight-test nose instrumentation, antennas, paddle exhausts, etc.)

Beyond stealth and thrust vectoring, the aircraft, which has had the “Spirit Of The Heart” nickname informally attached to it, is said to also be a surrogate for testing a whole load of other technologies that are not really visible on the outside.

A next generation active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar will fly aboard the jet at some point. Japan was the first country in the world to fly an AESA radar aboard an operational aircraft, their F-2 fighter. The radar was plagued with problems, but the technology has come a long way since and is on the “must have list” of any modern fighter, old or new.

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It is likely that this new radar will feature secondary modes for electronic attack, high-bandwidth communications and passive surveillance of the radio frequency spectrum. These are just some of the latent and shadowy capabilities of AESA radar systems that are now just being explored outside of a blanket of secrecy.

Everything We Know About The X-2, The Future Of Japanese Stealth Fighter Design

The X-2 will also test a fly-by-fiber-optic flight control system (FCS). This “intelligent” FCS is by its very nature highly redundant and resistant to electronic interference. It could also be able to compensate for battle damage and major aircraft malfunctions, especially when tied seamlessly to the jet’s three dimensional thrust vectoring system.

The X-2 will also eventually fly with Japan’s most advanced electronic surveillance and countermeasures systems. These systems may not only be refined and used on a future X-2 derived fighter design, but they could be retrofitted to older combat aircraft still in service with the JASDF.

Last but certainly not least, the X-2 will fly with advanced turbofan engines known as the IHI XF5-1. Not much is known about this new powerplant, but it is a smaller engine with a high output for its size and weight. It may give the diminutive X-2 enough dry thrust (without afterburner) to achieve sustained super-cruise (supersonic flight without afterburner). The engine will likely be developed further for a larger production variant of the X-2.

Japan also has the F-35As on order, and they will surely learn a great deal by operating and maintaining it, much of which will also likely be spiraled back into their future fighter design.

Japan will spend huge mountains of Yen to keep their indigenous defense industries propped up and producing relevant weaponry. The X-2 is a manifestation of this and has already accrued a bill of $332 million. But this time Japan may be aiming at exporting their future fighter design as well as fielding it for their own use. Considering they will already have the F-35s for years by the time a new design is operational, offsetting the costs of “remaking the wheel” by their own hand may be found on the world’s increasingly active fighter jet market.

Regardless of whether Japan ever realizes their indigenous fifth generation fighter dreams on any relevant scale, it will be very interesting to see the X-2's development and testing progress.

The aircraft is set to make its first flight by end of this quarter.
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count_to_10

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Unread post31 Jan 2016, 16:33

Seems kind of like a national vanity project, with all due respect. Chances are, the F-35 will be more capable all around (not just a better value).
For some reason, this reminds me of the Japanese show "Gate" which has been running over there: pro-military and in the right direction, but a bit overboard and misinformed in a number of important ways (particularly with respect to the US).
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Unread post31 Jan 2016, 17:53

I think the whole region is a bit panicked about China's behavior and this administration's abandonment of it's allies there. They want to make sure they have in-house capability if they need it. South Korea is doing the same thing.
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Unread post01 Feb 2016, 00:18

zero-one wrote:
Well it's a bit early to tell, yes they don't have the technical expertise of the US and certainly not the budget to match the ATF program. But they do have time on their side.

Technology has advanced since the 16 years that the 1st F-22 rolled out. And by the time the first F-3 is scheduled to roll out (2027) the first F-22 would have been 30 years old.

the F-3 will never achieve what the F-22 has achieved which was to be 30-40 years more advanced than anything flying, but on the other hand the F-3 of 2027 may be comparable to the F-22 of 1997.

Anyway from what we can see and what they claim, it looks like the Japanese are very keen on making a very high performance platform, perhaps to match or surpass the F-22, at least in the extreme slow speed regime.

Next Gen AESA is also being claimed.



fair enough. At any rate I look forward to seeing and reading more about the ATD-X-2 :beer: :beer:
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Unread post01 Feb 2016, 08:30

NO NO NO.........Honestly, don't get why some people keep trying to make the ATD-X into something it's not. The ATD-X is a "Demonstrator" for future fighter technologies. It is not a Prototype of the often discussed F-3. (which does not exist)


QUOTE: The Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin (fomerly the ATD-X ) is a Japanese experimental aircraft for testing advanced stealth fighter aircraft technologies. It is being developed by the Japanese Ministry of Defense Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) for research purposes. The main contractor of the project is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.


ATD-X is an acronym meaning "Advanced Technology Demonstrator – X"

The technologies gained with the development of the ATD-X/X-2 will likely be used in a future "6th Generation Fighter". Likely with a partner (i.e. US) not as a 5th Generation Air Superiority Fighter for the JASDF.
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Unread post01 Feb 2016, 08:54

zero-one wrote:Well it's a bit early to tell, yes they don't have the technical expertise of the US and certainly not the budget to match the ATF program. But they do have time on their side.

Technology has advanced since the 16 years that the 1st F-22 rolled out. And by the time the first F-3 is scheduled to roll out (2027) the first F-22 would have been 30 years old.

the F-3 will never achieve what the F-22 has achieved which was to be 30-40 years more advanced than anything flying, but on the other hand the F-3 of 2027 may be comparable to the F-22 of 1997.


Well, Saturn V rocket is now 50 years but it's still the only launch vehicle that has been capable of transporting humans beyond Low Earth Orbit. It seems like this will be true for some time to come as it's still very difficult task to do and requires enormous amounts of money and other resources. I think same is true with VLO fighters. Basic technology is well known, but to design and manufacture a real VLO fighter, it takes a lot of research and development (meaning a lot of money and resources) to do. I think it will take a long time before F-22 equivalent fighter really emerges outside USA. I don't see T-50 or J-20 being even close to it.
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Unread post01 Feb 2016, 09:11

zero-one wrote:I don't see the F-3 as being in direct competition to the F-35, as the requirement for the ATD-X is to develop a primarily air superiority platform as opposed to the JSF program that was to developed primarily for strike purposes.

In the end the F-3 will be very attractive to air forces who want the A-A capabilities of a 5th generation fighter but don't necessarily need the air to surface capabilities of the F-35.



As I have said the F-3 doesn't currently exist! Nor, is it likely to do so in the foreseeable future (if ever)
.... :bang: :bang: :bang:


The F-35J will me the premier Japanese Stealth Fighter in the JASDF for decades to come..... :twisted:
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Unread post01 Feb 2016, 18:14

Corsair1963 wrote:The technologies gained with the development of the ATD-X/X-2 will likely be used in a future "6th Generation Fighter". Likely with a partner (i.e. US) not as a 5th Generation Air Superiority Fighter for the JASDF.


Source?
The X-2 is a technology demonstrator and may not represent a prototype F-3 in ultimate form, but most articles seem to indicate Japan has a very specific objective in mind with building and flying this aircraft. From the article I posted earlier:
As I reported previously (See: “Japan’s 5th Generation Stealth Fighter to Make Maiden Flight in Early 2016”), the X-2 program’s goal is to eventually produce Japan’s first indigenously-designed fifth-generation air superiority fighter, designated F-3, with serial production slated to begin in 2027, although various delays in the development of the X-2 prototype including issues with the engine control software –scheduled to be fully developed by 2018– make a later date more likely.
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Unread post01 Feb 2016, 20:09

hornetfinn wrote:
Well, Saturn V rocket is now 50 years but it's still the only launch vehicle that has been capable of transporting humans beyond Low Earth Orbit. It seems like this will be true for some time to come as it's still very difficult task to do and requires enormous amounts of money and other resources. I think same is true with VLO fighters. Basic technology is well known, but to design and manufacture a real VLO fighter, it takes a lot of research and development (meaning a lot of money and resources) to do. I think it will take a long time before F-22 equivalent fighter really emerges outside USA. I don't see T-50 or J-20 being even close to it.


Fair points, but then again, not a lot of countries really aimed to go to the moon, well there were the Soviets once who quickly abandoned the program after their N1 rocket failed time and again.

But this time they are trying to directly aim at matching or overmatching the F-22. And just like the N1, they may succeed in being superior to the Saturn V in some asspects (total thrust, payload to HEO).

But like you I don't see anyone being able to develop something that will outclass the F-22 anytime soon. However, my point was, because the F-22 is starting to become old. (Requiremnets were from the 80s, most of it's technology was developed in the 90s)

Other nations with smaller budgets and much less technical know how, may come relatively close, simply because what was extremely cutting edge then has become somewhat common now.

The F-22 will continue to be upgraded to keep it's edge however.
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Unread post01 Feb 2016, 20:16

Corsair1963 wrote:

As I have said the F-3 doesn't currently exist! Nor, is it likely to do so in the foreseeable future (if ever)
.... :bang: :bang: :bang:


The F-35J will me the premier Japanese Stealth Fighter in the JASDF for decades to come..... :twisted:


Thank you for clarifying, so it looks like the X-2 is not a prototype for the F-3.

Looks like Japan's plans are to develop technologies on the X-2 to be applied to an F-3 prototype then to actually produce and F-3 fighter. Seems like 11 years is not much time to do that.

But if thats the case, then Japan may have a bigger budget commitment to the ATD-X project than I thought, given the fact that they developed a tech demo plane first. This could be interesting.

But like I said earlier, unlike the F-35 who's main requirement is A-G, the ATD-X program is aiming at a predominantly A-A platform.

We may see ATF like requirements such as super cruise and larger maneuvering envelopes that were not prioritized or absent on the JSF program
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Unread post02 Feb 2016, 01:55

Wait a second... I thought the ATD-X was a demonstrator for technologies not a direct prototype for a possible F-3 fighter aircraft for the JASDF. :?
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Unread post02 Feb 2016, 03:06

I think people need to get it through their head that the ATD-X is the equivalent to a US X-vehicle.

It's a Technology DEMONSTRATOR.

Whatever their final version manufacturing shall be is a WHOLE DIFFERENT issue.
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Unread post02 Feb 2016, 06:19

The ATD-X is a Demonstrator. Which, is being built to develop future Advance Fighter Technologies. That will be incorporated into a Future 6th Generation Fighter. Likely with the US as a Partner...........IT IS NOT THE F-3 NOR WILL WE EVER SEE AN F-3. :roll:
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Unread post02 Feb 2016, 07:50

popcorn wrote:I'm curious as to the Japanese state-of-the-art in terms of engine tech. Everyone aside from the Americans seem to struggle in this area.

The Japanese do very well; IHI is a partner with GE in jet engines and gas turbines, and has the technical know how to design and build engines from scratch. Kawasaki is also involved in the joint international development and production of turbofan engines with Rolls Royce and Pratt & Whitney in aircraft engines and gas turbines as well.
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Unread post02 Feb 2016, 09:16

Corsair1963 wrote: NOR WILL WE EVER SEE AN F-3. :roll:


so why don't you believe Japan won't make an "F-3"?
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