The jet will take its maiden flight the week of Feb. 15 or Feb. 22. Designer and builder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will hand it over to the Ministry of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency at the end of March. The X-2 is under development as the government prepares to replace the F-2 fighter, due for retirement around fiscal 2028.
The new plane will undergo roughly 200 hours of test flights. A decision on whether to manufacture it in Japan or launch a joint international development effort will be reached by fiscal 2018.
As a stealth aircraft, the X-2 incorporates radar-wave-absorbing material and a body designed to avoid detection. Thrust vector systems lend to its heightened maneuverability. The agency will test stealth, flight performance, control systems and other technologies.
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