Japan's X-2 ShinShin completes maiden flight
April 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Japan's Mitsubishi X-2 ShinShin technology demonstrator performed its maiden flight on the morning of Friday, 22 April from Nagoya Airport in Aichi Prefecture. According to a press release from the company, basic maneuvers such as climbing, descending and turning were conducted during the flight, which lasted 26 minutes. The aircraft arrived at Gifu Air Base, located a mere 15km away and which houses the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force's Hiko Kaihatsu Jikkendan (Air Development and Test Wing). The flight went without a hitch and the test pilot reported the handling characteristics as being “extremely stable”.
The X-2, previously known as the ATD-X, was officially rolled out to the public on 29 January. It was to have made its first flight in February but this was delayed as a result of technical difficulties. Intended to develop and demonstrate fifth generation fighter technologies, the X-2 incorporates low observable features and thrust vectoring paddles for high maneuverability. Technological innovations on the X-2 could find their way into an indigenous new generation fighter, dubbed the F-3, should Japan chooses to proceed with the program.
The first flight of the X-2 comes at a time of heightened tensions in the region as Japan enhances its military capabilities. Japan's project could also be seen as playing catch-up with the fifth generation fighter projects of China and South Korea, which are in various stages of development.
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