Next month, Japan is going to fly their latest fighter, and they're hoping no one notices. Well, not no one exactly, but as with every stealth fighter, the goal is a visual spectacle and a tiny radar blip. In the works for years, the Mitsubishi Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X, now renamed the X-2, is designed to fit into Japan's modernizing, staunchier military. Did we mention it's stealthy?
Only a handful of countries have ever built and successfully flown a stealth fighter. Early next year, Japan may join their ranks, with scheduled test flights of its first experimental stealth fighter expected within the first three months of 2016. The Advanced Technology Demonstrator X, or ATD-X, is a tentative step forward into rare skies, and comes at a time when most of Japan's neighbors are either building or buying stealth fighters of their own.
Lurking in a fuzzy image currently circulating on Chinese forums is the outline of what could be Japan's first home-grown stealth fighter. Given the image quality, it could also be a soft-focus tube of toothpaste, but accepting that it's a plane, it is likely Japan's long-in-development Mitsubishi Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X (ATD-X).