Is this Japan’s First Indigenous Stealth Jet Prototype?

Jun 14 2014 - 21 Comments

A leaked image may show the famous Mitsubishi’s ATD-X Shinshin stealth fighter.

An image appeared on some Chinese forums, may show the first prototype of the Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X (ATD-X), a fighter plane destined to replace Japan Air Self-Defense Force‘s Mitsubishi F-2 in the air defense role.

The aircraft, developed by the Japanese Ministry of Defense Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) for research purposes and unofficially known in Japan as Shinshin (meaning “spirit of the heart”, actually an early codename within the Japan Self Defense Force) is expected to fly for the first time within the end of this year.

Therefore this first, blurry image, might really depict the ATD-X, a canted vertical tails radar-evading air superiority fighter with enhanced maneuverability, considered vital to counter the Chinese J-20 and Russian T-50 stealth jets in the Pacific.

Even if the white color scheme with a large red stripe does not seem too stealthy.

Image credit: Chinese Internet


  • Roncha

    Is that a MiG 21 style intake cone?

    • Yak

      I don’t think so. Looks like the radar dome isn’t put on, you can clearly see the radar antenna.

      • Ed

        But that’s strange, isn’t it? (I do agree that it looks like a radar.) As far as I know, prototypes usually fly without radar, initially.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      Opened radome? on the left 2 men are carrying something white similar to a cone..

  • Stephen Bolter

    “An image appeared on some Chinese forums” of course this confirms the Chinese aren’t spying …

    • Mark

      Chinese aren’t spying, only the American NSA of course…

      Oh, wait:

      China has a not the latest technology, so you can probably say that the Chinese are one of the biggest hackers on earth!

      • Ser Arthur Dayne

        China hacked and stole a lot of data about JSF if i remember well (raptor too?)

    • Jodio

      sure , if it’s so easy to get spied , i don’t know, should I say the japs are fool or not? BTW, all the J20’s pics are from chinese forums. so you must think they spy themselves huh?

  • Politically Correct

    Hey look a copy of the F-15.

    • Ed

      … You’re making a joke, right? A play on the “Pak-Fa is an F-22 copy” comments? Or perhaps on the ones comparing the J-20 to the MiG 1.44?

      • Politically Correct


  • Jodio

    They copied F4 , F16 , now they are copying F22. japs..

    • Misanthropik

      Half of the Japanese F-4’s were bought from the US. The remainder were licence built in Japan. The Japanese F-2, a modefied version of the F-16, was also license built in Japan.

      • keijhae

        Youre right about F-4’s which called F-4EJ for Japanese version built in Japan. The F-2 is built by Mitsubishi in Japan, and the systems are also made by Japan. Its only the design of the aircraft is derived from F-16 which is licensed from Lockheed Martin.

  • Rees Shuman

    this author does know the ADX is a tech demonstrator only, the follow on F-3 which may or may not be developed with the US is the fighter I think the author is thinking of

    • keijhae

      The ATD-X are just a prototype for the development of Japan’s next generation stealth aircraft to be named as F-3. That will be a japanese indigenous stealth aircraft.

  • ATman

    My thought this was someting more basic mainly a technology demonstrator or some sort of advanced trainer. On first glance I thought this could be some sort of development along the lines of the J-12. It could legitimately be japans next fighter or it could be nothing at all. The image res is very low and if we had a nice clear pic (no fault of the cool people at the avationist) it would make speculating a little easier.

    • Ed

      Well, it may be low res, but the vertical tails match those of the ATD-X scale models, so it would be a good guess. As far as I know, nothing else the Japanese have, have such tails.

      It could still be a model, for a show of some sort.

  • Movie Buff

    It is the long-lost MiG-28 once flown by navy pilot for the movie ‘Top Gun’ starring the famous actor Tom Cruise.

  • Bob Smith

    It looks like a miniature F-22.

  • Antonio Valencia