Big in Japan


The Mitsubishi Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X (ATD-X) Shinshin is a testbed aircraft being developed by the Japanese Ministry of Defence Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI).  

The aircraft is being developed to evaluate the feasibility of developing and producing a domestic fifth-generation fighter. With a length of  14.1 metres/m (46.5 feet/ft) and a wingspan of nine metres (29.8 f), the prototype is powered by two IHI XF5-1 turbofans, with a maximum takeoff weigtht of 28,659 pounds (13,000 kilograms) and a top speed of 1,333 knots (2,470 kilometres-per-hour).

Designed to have a low radar cross-section, the ATD-X is believed to incorporate a fly-by-optics flight control system, an active electronically scanned array radar, and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles controlling system. Also noteworthy is a ‘Self Repairing Flight Control Capability’ which automatically detects failures in flight control surfaces and compensates for them.

The ATD-X Shinshin signals the possible development by Japan, for the first time since the end of the Second World War, of a homegrown fighter. Production may begin as early as 2018, and an open question is whether Tokyo may supply it to regional partners like the Philippines.