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Thursday, January 28, 2016, 21:12

Japan unveils homemade stealth plane

By Associated Press
Japan unveils homemade stealth plane
The first domestically-made stealth aircraft, X-2, is shown to the media at Nagoya Airport in Toyoyama town, central Japan, Jan.28, 2016. (AP Photo/Emily Wang)

TOYOYAMA, Japan — Japan unveiled its first homemade stealth plane Thursday as it tries to catch up on the technology and enhance its reconnaissance and intelligence capabilities.

The experimental X-2 is expected to make its maiden test flight in February. Defense officials said the aircraft is designed to test the stealth technology that would possibly be combined with the next-generation fighter jet, replacing the fleet of F-2 fighters as early as 2028.

The red-and-white aircraft, with a 14-meter (45-foot) -long fuselage and 9-meter (30-foot) -long wingspan, sat inside a hanger at the Nagoya Airport in central Japan.

Led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, the stealth plane comes with radar-resistance features, including a canopy with special stealth-enhancing coating, and mobility.

"I cannot go into details, but we recognize it is technologically at a very high level," said Takahiro Yoshida, an official in charge of the project at the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency of the Defense Ministry.

The 40 billion yen ($340 million) project began in 2009.

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