Japan stealth fighter jet – Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin (F-3 Prototype)

The Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin (formerly 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. Many consider this aircraft to be Japan’s first domestically made stealth fighter. ATD-X is an acronym meaning “AdvancedTechnology Demonstrator – X“. The aircraft is widely known in Japan as Shinshin (心神, meaning “spirit of the heart”),although the name itself is only an early codename within the Japan Self-Defense Forces; The name is not officially in use. The aircraft’s first flight is scheduled for early in 2016.


A radio-controlled 1/5 scale model made its first flight in 2006 to gain data on performance at high angles of attack and to test new sensory equipment and self-repairing flight control systems.

1/5 scale R/C model

Following these preliminary steps, the decision was taken in 2007 to push ahead with the multi billion-yen project. At the time of this decision, production was forecast to start roughly 10 years later, around 2017. In 2007, the ATD-X was expected to conduct its maiden flight in 2014. In 2011, the maiden flight is to take place in 2014 or 2015.

In July 2014, the TRDI (Technical Research & Development Institute ) released the first official photos of the ATD-X prototype, and stated that the aircraft was undergoing tests on the ground. The fighter prototype was expected to be fully developed by 2018′ the ATD-X program will then lead to a F-3 fighter expected to be produced in 2027 (see picture below post). The ATD-X was officially unveiled on 29 January 2016. The aircraft’s first flight was expected to come the following month; it was revealed to have the the official designation of X-2 upon its unveiling.

X-2 stealth aircraft prototype carries out its first taxi test

Japan’s X-2 performs a full military thrust takeoff run

Mitsubishi X-2 afterburner ON full acceleration Mitsubishi X-2 Full Acceleration with AfterBurner

Mitsubishi’s X-2 stealth demonstrator moves one step closer to first flight: Here

Japan’s Mitsubishi X-2 maiden Flight – More videos Here

Japan eyes China, US in X-2 stealth project: Here


Japan test-flew its first domestically made X-2 stealth fighter, also known as the  Shinshin, on Friday.

Military strategists have been speculating about how Japan intends to use the aircraft.

According to the Japanese defense ministry, Shinshin is not a real fighter jet, but a “technology demonstrator” to explore stealth technology.

Theoretically, the successful maiden flight makes Japan the fourth country to fly a homegrown stealth fighter. But it will take a long time before Japan finishes all the revisions and builds a combat-ready fighter jet.

Japan tried to buy F-22 stealth fighters from the US, but the aircraft is subject to an export ban. Instead, the US agreed to sell Japan the less stealthy and often-criticized F-35 when the aircraft finally goes into full production.

Japan to delay multi-billion dollar fighter jet development: Here


TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will delay a decision to develop a new advanced fighter jet, four sources said, as military planners struggle to settle on a design and officials splash out on new U.S. equipment such as ballistic missile interceptors and F-35 stealth planes.

Faced with a growing military threat from North Korea and increased activity by Chinese air force jets over the East China Sea, Japan is under pressure to improve its defenses on two fronts.

Any delay to the new fighter, known as the F-3, will raise a question mark over the future of what could be one of the world’s most lucrative upcoming military contracts, estimated at more than $40 billion to develop and deploy.

A decision after the first half of 2018 would be too late for it to be included as a core program in a new five-year defense equipment plan beginning April 2019 that Japan will reveal at the end of next year.

“The direction is for the F-3 decision to be put back,” said one the sources who have knowledge of the discussion. The people who spoke to Reuters asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to talk to the media.


ATD-X demonstrator and research prototype
The ATD-X will be used as a technology demonstrator and research prototype to determine whether domestic advanced technologies for a fifth generation fighter aircraft are viable.
3D thrust vectoring

The aircraft also features 3D thrust vectoring capability. Thrust is controlled in the ATD-X by the use of 3 paddles on each engine nozzle similar to the system used on the Rockwell X-31, while an axis-symmetric thrust vectoring engine is also being developed for the full-scale production model. The nozzles on the prototype appear to be uncovered and might have a slight adverse effect on the aircraft’s stealth characteristics.

Rockwell X-31

Among the features the ATD-X is to have is a fly-by-optics flight control system, which by substituting optical fibers for wires, allows data to be transferred faster and with immunity to electromagnetic disturbance.


Its radar will be an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar called the ‘Multifunction RF Sensor’, which is intended to have broad spectrum agility, capabilities for electronic countermeasures (ECM), electronic support measures (ESM), communications functions, and possibly even microwave weapon functions.

Next Gen high-power radar

Using the Japanese Semiconductor technology including GaN T/R

[Advanced Integrated Sensor]


Researched from 2002 to 2010, the multi-role RF sensor has capability to perform as radar, ESM and ECM. Now from 2010, the research or integrating IRST for Finding and Tracking the aircraft with low RCS. It also functions as an communication device.

Smart Skin Sensor


Smart skin radar is a film type radar that can be arrayed on the surface of the fuselage which can cover the area / angle that the nosecone radar cannot. This will make F-3 to be able to observe 360 degrees like EO-DAS and even more, it can track multiple targets and has capability to be used as high resolution SAR.


Various kinds of test has been held

The research has started from 1998 and the test of the radar was already done, including the test that has been held on Kawasaki C-1. R&D has ended in 2010. Source defence.pk

Stealth that is superior to enemy using advanced material engineering technology of Japan

Using / applying private technology like Silicon Carbide fiber, Magnetic Shielding using Plasma TV (PDP) technology, Meta Material, etc

Aerodynamics Technology for Internal Weapon Arming


Research to internally arm various weapons including missile by explaining complex shock wave, air flow that occurs while opening the weapon bay, especially about what happens when un-docking and launching the missile. It started from 2010 and will continue until 2017.


[Research on Stealth Intake Duct]


Source defence.pk

A further feature will be a so-called ‘Self Repairing Flight Control Capability’ (自己修復飛行制御機能, which will allow the aircraft to automatically detect failures or damage in its flight control surfaces, and using the remaining control surfaces, calibrate accordingly to retain controlled flight.

The JASDF is reported to have issued a request for information for engines in the 10 to 20 thousand pound thrust range to power the prototypes while Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries is to provide the engines for the completed fighter.

Specifications (X-2)

Data from Miyakawa et al, 2008; Jane’s Defence Weekly

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 14.174 m (46 ft 6 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.099 m (29 ft 10 in)
  • Height: 4.514 m (14 ft 10 in)
  • Max takeoff weight: 13,000 kg (28,659 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × IHI XF5-1 low-bypass turbofans dry, 49.03 kN (11,023 lbf) with afterburner
  • Maximum speed: Mach 2.25 (Mach 1.82 supercruise)
  • Range: 2,900 km (1,802 mi; 1,566 nmi)
  • Combat range: 761 km (473 mi; 411 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 3,200 km (1,988 mi; 1,728 nmi)

Next-Generation “High-Power Slim-Engine”

In the development of an fighter jet, the most hardest and costly part is where they develop the engine for it. Japan eventually got 100% full scale technology transfer of F110-GE-129 from USA while FS-X and developed their XF5-1 from 1995. The 4 initial products has been sent to TRDI from IHI and from 2003, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries tested Thrust vectoring nozzle until 2008 and they eventually passed the test of JASDF. The engine’s thrust was 3 times smaller than one of F119’s though the thrust-to-weight ration is the same ; 1:8.

However, the new Next-Generation “High-Power Slim-Engine”‘s development has been started since 2010 and it will end around 2027 ~ 2028.

The new high-power slim engine aims to generate 15 tons (33000 Ibs) of thrust with the turbine inlet temperature of 1,800 ℃. Compared to XF5-1 which has 5 tons thrust (11000 Ibs) and turbine inlet temperature of 1600℃, the new engine has smaller size but greater output. Source defence.pk

Updated Nov 16, 2017

F-3 the final perceived designed 


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