Mitsubishi ATD-X

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ATD-X Shinshin
Line drawing of side view of jet fighter
Mitsubishi ATD-X
Role Stealth experimental technology demonstrator
National origin Japan
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
First flight 2015
Status In development
Primary user Japan Air Self-Defense Force
Number built 1 prototype

The Mitsubishi ATD-X Shinshin is an indigenous Japanese experimental aircraft for testing advanced stealth fighter aircraft technologies. It is being developed by the Japanese Ministry of Defense Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) for research purposes. The main contractor of the project is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Many consider this aircraft to be Japan's first domestically made stealth fighter. ATD-X is an acronym meaning "Advanced Technology DemonstratorX". The aircraft is widely known in Japan as Shinshin (心神?, meaning "spirit of the heart"),[1] although the name itself is only an early codename within the Japan Self-Defense Forces; The name is not officially in use.[2][3] The aircraft's first flight is scheduled for 2015.


At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Japan, seeking to replace its aging fleet of fighter aircraft, began making overtures to the United States on the topic of purchasing several Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighters for their own forces.[4] However the U.S. Congress had banned the exporting of the aircraft in order to safeguard secrets of the aircraft's technology such as its extensive use of stealth; this rejection necessitated Japan to develop its own modern fighter, to be equipped with stealth features and other advanced systems.

A mock-up of the ATD-X was constructed and used to study the radar cross section in France in 2005.[5][6] A radio-controlled 1/5 scale model made its first flight in 2006 to gain data on performance at high angles of attack and to test new sensory equipment and self-repairing flight control systems.[6]

Following these preliminary steps, the decision was taken in 2007 to push ahead with the multi billion-yen project. At the time of this decision, production was forecast to start roughly 10 years later, around 2017. In 2007, the ATD-X was expected to conduct its maiden flight in 2014.[7] In 2011, the maiden flight is to take place in 2014 or 2015.[8]

On July 2014, the TRDI (Technical Research & Development Institute ) released first official photos of the ATD-X prototype, and stated that the aircraft was undergoing tests on ground. Mitsubishi ATD-X shinshin stealth fighter prototype has rolled out, to be fully developed by 2018. [9]

The ATD-X program will then lead to a F-3 fighter to be produced in 2027.[10]


Mitsubishi ATD-X

The ATD-X will be used as a technology demonstrator and research prototype to determine whether domestic advanced technologies for a sixth generation fighter aircraft are viable.[11] The aircraft also features 3D thrust vectoring capability. Thrust is controlled in the ATD-X by the use of 3 paddles on each engine nozzle similar to the system used on the Rockwell X-31, while an axis-symmetric thrust vectoring engine is also being developed for the full scale production model.[11] The nozzles on the prototype appear to be uncovered and might have a slight adverse effect on the aircraft's stealth characteristics.[citation needed]

Among the features the ATD-X is to have is a fly-by-optics flight control system, which by substituting optical fibers for wires, allows data to be transferred faster and with immunity to electromagnetic disturbance.[11]

Its radar will be an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar called the 'Multifunction RF Sensor', which is intended to have broad spectrum agility, capabilities for electronic countermeasures (ECM), electronic support measures (ESM), communications functions, and possibly even microwave weapon functions.[11]

A further feature will be a so-called 'Self Repairing Flight Control Capability' (自己修復飛行制御機能?), which will allow the aircraft to automatically detect failures or damage in its flight control surfaces, and using the remaining control surfaces, calibrate accordingly to retain controlled flight.[6]

The JASDF is reported to have issued a request for information for engines in the 10 to 20 thousand pound thrust range to power the prototypes while Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries is to provide the engines for the completed fighter.[12]

Specifications (ATD-X)[edit]

Data from Miyakawa et al, 2008[6]

General characteristics


See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ Japanese dictionary entry for "shinshin", via Google Translate
  2. ^ Technical Research & Development Institute, Ministry of Defence
  3. ^ Press Release, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
  4. ^ "Mitsubishi ATD-X ShinShin a Japanese Stealth Fighter". Defence Aviation. 2008-01-11. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  5. ^ Mitsubishi Stealth, Aviation Weekly, June 2007, retrieved 2011-07-01 
  6. ^ a b c d Miyakawa et al. "Research of Flight Control System for High Maneuver Aircraft". 三菱重工技報. Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  7. ^ "Japan to build stealth fighter jets by 2014". Air Force Times. 2007-12-10. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  8. ^ "Photos of ATD-X Japan's Stealth Jet". 
  9. ^ Technical Research and Development Institute (2014-07-12). "先進技術実証機の現況". Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  10. ^ Bradley Perrett (2012-10-22). "Japan Aims To Launch F-3 Development In 2016-17". Aviation Week. The McGraw-Hill Companies. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Japanese Military Technology Advances". International Assessment and Strategy Center. Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  12. ^ Japan seeks foreign engines for stealth fighter prototypes.
  13. ^

External links[edit]