Japan unveils stealth plane, may combine with next-gen jet

TOYOYAMA, Japan (AP) — Japan has unveiled its first homemade stealth plane as it tries to catch up on the technology and enhance its reconnaissance and intelligence capabilities as China expands its own military presence in the region. The experimental X-2 unveiled Thursday is expected to make...

Mnet 58841 Japan Military Stealth Ap Tn
 
              The first domestically-made stealth aircraft, X-2, is shown to the media at Nagoya Airport in Toyoyama town, central Japan, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. The demonstration plane is expected to make its maiden flight sometime after mid-February. A Defense Ministry official said the technology will give Japan the option of developing its own stealth fighter jets in the future. (AP Photo/Emily Wang)

TOYOYAMA, Japan (AP) — Japan has unveiled its first homemade stealth plane as it tries to catch up on the technology and enhance its reconnaissance and intelligence capabilities as China expands its own military presence in the region.

The experimental X-2 unveiled Thursday is expected to make its maiden test flight in February. Defense officials said the aircraft is designed to test the stealth technology that would possibly be combined with the next-generation fighter jet, replacing the fleet of F-2 fighters as early as 2028.

The aircraft has a 14-meter (45-foot) -long fuselage and 9-meter (30-foot) -long wingspan. Led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, the stealth plane comes with radar-resistance features, including a canopy with special stealth-enhancing coating, and mobility.

The 40 billion yen ($340 million) project began in 2009.

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