Japan's first domestically manufactured X-2 Stealth fighter takes maiden flight
Tokyo: Japan's first domestically manufactured stealth plane has made its first flight, making Japan one of only a handful of nations with airplane stealth capabilities.
The twin-engine jet -- painted in the national red and white colors -- took off from Japan's Nagoya airport and completed various test maneuvers including climbing, descent and circling on Friday.
The X-2 is designed to test stealth technology that could be used in Japan's next-generation fighter jet.
According to the test pilot, the X-2’s inaugueral flight went well, and followed a stimulated training flight pattern.
The stealth plane, with a 14-meter- (45-foot-) long fuselage and 9-meter- (30-foot-) wingspan, comes with radar-resistant features, such as a canopy with stealth-enhancing coating.
It was developed by a consortium led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at a cost of 39.4 billion yen ($360 million).
Japan's development of a stealth fighter jet will add another component to an already complicated security environment.
The historic event is the latest example of Japan's assertive defense posture in the region, as China's military continues to flex its muscles, with a 7.6% increase in its 2016 defense budget.