(From Bloomberg Business)
Japan is closing in on becoming the fourth nation to test fly its own stealth jet, a move that could further antagonize neighboring Asian countries who’ve opposed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to strengthen the role of its armed forces.
The aircraft is scheduled to make its maiden flight in the first quarter of 2016, Hirofumi Doi, a program manager at the Ministry of Defense, said in an interview in Tokyo. The plane, called Advanced Technology Demonstrator X, will then be handed over to the nation’s self-defense forces, which will start conducting their own tests, he said.
The plane made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. will strengthen Abe’s military ambitions after he succeeded in pushing through U.S.-endorsed legislation to allow Japanese troops to fight in overseas conflicts, despite concerns abroad and at home. Japanese militarism is a particularly sensitive topic for China and South Korea because of the aggression they endured before and during World War II. Read more