Photos: ATD-X Japan’s Stealth Jet

Here are some great new images of Japan’s entry in the Great Asian Stealth Fighter Race; the ATD-X air superiority fighter.

These shots show a mock-up of Mitsubishi’s design for the jet which it hopes to have flying by 2014-15.

Japan wants to field its own stealth fighter in light of China’s rapid military modernization which seems to be aimed at expanding its influence throughout the western Pacific Ocean. The island nation wanted to buy Lockheed’s F-22 Raptor to serve as its air superiority fighter but the Pentagon refused to allow it. This drove Japan to seek a two pronged approach to modernizing its air force; it will buy a foreign-made multirole fighter and then develop its own stealthy air superiority jet — albeit with help from the U.S.

The ATD-X isn’t expected to be operational until the 2020s (if ever), in the meantime, Japan is looking at buying a multirole jet — either the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet or the Eurofighter Typhoon — to replace its ancient fleet of F-4J Phantoms and some of its newer F-15 Eagles.

Click through the jump for more photos.

Hat tip to Trimble for spotting these pictures.

18 Comments on "Photos: ATD-X Japan’s Stealth Jet"

  1. I love how that first photograph is taken in front of sign that clearly indicates "no photography."

    We probably should have sold them F22s… Its ambitious of the Japanese, and I wish them "good luck"… they'll need it.

  2. Maybe it's just the fast perspective, but these pictures make the wings look pretty small..

  3. Unfortunately, we are really broke just like everyone else. Now, the cleanup for nuclear contamination will cost us even more, so I doubt it will ever be built. They just want to keep an option and keep the industry afloat.

    They re-used the canopy from an old T-2 trainer, and that’s why it looks so old.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_T-2

  4. My coworker made me laugh by asking if it turns into a Robot. It certainly looks very Japanese, but I'm not sure what I mean by that.

  5. What the US should do is help Japan renovate one of our old Forrestal Class or Kitty-Hawk class carriers and then they can buy some Super Hornets and F-35c that would help even the odds a bit. I got to say though that ATD-X is a nice looking model. Here's another idea for Japan and South Korea, they both want a stealth fighter, could they bury the hatchet long enough to work together to build a Stealth fighter together with a few other small Asian countries who China is making nervous.

  6. The nose and canopy kinda remind me of a smaller, stealthy aardvark

  7. I really doubt they'll replace F-15s since most have been kept in good shape over the years. With Japans economy still recovering from the earth quakes and tidal waves last February. I don't see Japan getting a fleet of new plans F-35 or there own design anytime soon. They could get F-18s to replace F-4Js in service. But a F-18 is inferior to the F-15 in performance so I don't see them going away.

  8. buy the Eurofighter and follow up with an improved version of the YF-23,…

  9. BVR vs WVR is a though debate

    the problem with BVR is that ECM, stealth and future technologies are likely to make it a challenge. on the other hand those same technologies will improve the use of BVR weapons

    especially optical and IR sensors are developing really fast, look at the F-35 for example. combined with optical seeker heads, future aircraft could very well engage enemies at long range, completely passive and regardless of target stealth

    also, modern data links remove the need for having the sensor and missile on the same aircraft. modern fighters like the Typhoon and F-35 can already use data from sister aircraft to engage an enemy. in the future it's likely that aircraft will be able to use data from any external sensor, be it ground, sea, air or space based, to fire a missile at (even a stealthy) target at long range

    the problem with WVR is that it's not really an option. the F-22 for example is the best fighter in the world, not because it's so good at dogfighting (Russian aircraft and pilots are probably better at that, as they specialise in it), but because it uses superior speed, stealth and electronics to engage the enemy at range, denying the enemy a chance to counter-attack, which results in such lopsided victories

    WVR it's ofcourse superior to knock-off Chinese fighters, but it'll probably be outnumbered 10 to 1 or worse, and that's assuming the Chinese don't have a few J-20's nearby, using their cheaper brethern and probably drones as bait to draw in the F-22, and than strike when it's low on missiles and fuel. or worse, sneak by and engage supporting units like AWACS and tankers, which are invaluable but vulnerable force multipliers

    and the last problem with WVR engagements are future technologies. laser weapons for will completely change the way air combat is fought, especially when (not if) those can be used to shoot down enemy missiles, making those useless. a second technology that is likely to greatly affect the WVR scene are UAVs. China can build huge numbers of cheap UAVs, and use them as bait or missile platforms. not to mention if they can develop an air superiority UCAV, outmanouvering and out-thinking any manned aircraft. it sounds like science fiction, but then so did jet engines in 1939

    I'd suggest Japan to follow Europe's example and skip a fase, going straight to UCAVs, they're the future of air warfare

  10. Hey can you please do a piece on the rolls each aircraft is supposed to fill. I keep hearing people talk about how other aircraft do a roll better than the new 5th gen ones yet they never back up any argument with solid facts that are easily corroborated.

  11. First the Shin Shin or the ATD-X is as the acronym suggest is a technical Demonstrator not intended for practical use. It is a test bed for various technology.
    Next if you do a search for i3 fighter concept proposed by Ministry of Defense (MoD) Technical Research and Development Institute(TRDI), you'll find the actual sixth generation fighter concept proposed by MoD which is considering to replace the F-15J and F-2 around 2020 which look suspiciously like the F/A XX proposed by Boeing.

  12. I agree with giving them a carrier. The Independence just happens to be siiting by…..

  13. All these country's developing stealth fighter, bomber, helo's, ships. Cool! Yet Canada's got them all beat. Whats our military developing? A stealth Snowmobile. Please, no jokes about the stealth canoe's… also under development.

  14. Mitsubishi manufactured the A6M fighter plane known as the Japanese Zero or Zeke. The fighter could take off and land from aircraft carriers and short island landing strips. The Zero was more light, maneuverable, well armed with 2 X 20mm Type 99 cannon and 2 X 7.7 mm Type 97 machine guns, and had a range greater than anything the Americans and British fighter planes in the Pacific Theater during the beginning of WWII. The weakness of the Zero was its lack of armor for pilot and fuel tanks and the lack of self-sealing fuel tanks. Japanese fighter pilots lived by the Samurai Bushido code and did not believe they needed armor. The land based Curtis-Wright P-40E-1 Warhawk with six .50 caliber Browning machine guns was the only plane in 1942 which could take on a Zero but only when it could dive from above on the Zero's six o'clock for a quick kill. The P-40 AVG pilots were trained never to get into a dog fight with a Zero because the Japanese fighter could out turn the P-40 in two loops and would get into firing position on the P-40's six o'clock.

    The Americans did not have a superior fighter plane available until the introduction of the Grumman F6F Hellcat, the Vought F4U Corsair for US aircraft carriers, and the North American P-51D Mustang, and the Lockheed P-38 Lightning from island landing strips. And only then when the Allied pilots were well trained in dog fighting skills to take advantage of the Japanese Zero's weaknesses and their experienced pilots. Experienced Japanese Zero pilots grew to greatly fear the Vought F4U Corsair.

    I believe Mitsubishi has every intent of developing for Japan a stealth fighter with advanced avionic-electronics, armor, fueling, range, maneuverability, with high-tech target acquisition armaments to counter any threat from their mortal enemies the Chinese and Russians. Japan has a long history of territorial conflict with Russia since the crushing defeat of the Russian Second and Third Pacific Squadron Naval Fleet at the Battle of Tsushima, in the Tsushima Straits, on 27–28 May 1905 at the hands of a combined Japanese Pacific Fleet. The Chinese have never forgotten the atrocities the Japanese committed in China during WWII.

  15. Ive seen these photos earlier this year. not new!

  16. A YF-23 is already been thru trials I'm sure North/Grumman would like to sell it since we dropped the ball.

  17. Nice looking, The test flight of the jet will tell how good the fighter will be.North/Grumman Should help Japan with the building of the Jet Fighter.

  18. LP. Carlson GySgt USMC | November 7, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply

    The fact here is our stealth technology is out. Obama will level the world military playing field by supporting russia (we’ve all seen the off-mike video), leaving iran to build up thier nuclear program, continued borrowing from china and cutting our own military. My friends at the recruiters office were all given $10,000 and sent home. The military was thier career choice and it was taken away. I suffer from injuries sustained in the service. All I can say is be watchful and pay close attention to all of the new stealth planes from around the world because you may look to the sky one day and spot one, or two, or more. God bless us all. LPC “Gunny” 17 yrs USMC

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