by Staff Writers
Komaki, Japan (AFP) Jan 28, 2016
Japan on Thursday unveiled its first stealth fighter jet, officials said, with the maiden test flight planned for next month.
The defence ministry's acquisition agency showed off the domestically developed, radar-dodging X-2 fighter at a regional airport near the central city of Komaki.
Its first flight is scheduled in mid-February before delivery to the defence ministry by the end of March next year, the acquisition agency said.
The X-2, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, measures 14.2 metres (47 feet) long and 9.1 metres wide and was built as a successor to the F-2 fighter jets developed jointly with the United States.
Presently, only the United States, Russia and China have been internationally recognised as having successfully developed and flown manned stealth jets, the agency said.
Japan has reportedly spent about 39.4 billion yen ($332 million) to develop the aircraft.
In November Japan's first domestically produced passenger jet, also developed by Mitsubishi Heavy, made its maiden test flight, a landmark development for the country after being barred from developing aircraft following its defeat in World War II.
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