Japanese Stealth Takes Off

Japan became the fourth country to test-fly a home-grown stealth jet Friday. The advanced technology demonstrator—also dubbed the ATD-X or “Shinshin”—flew about 15 kilometers on its maiden flight, according to? The Japan Times. The first flight was expected earlier, but was delayed due to technical problems. Japan began developing the stealth aircraft in 2009 and has invested almost 40 billion yen ($355 million) in the program so far. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries developed the X-2 fuselage, and IHI Corp. made the engines. Mitsubishi will deliver the demonstrator to its government after further ground testing and one more flight test. Japan is expected to decide whether to build, buy, or jointly develop a replacement for its? non-stealth F-2 fighter—set to be retired around 2030—by 2018, the Times reported.