Is this Japan’s First Indigenous Stealth Jet Prototype?

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


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


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

      • 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.

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

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

  2. 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

    • 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.

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