There are some new stealth fighters under development in the world and one of them is being constructed in Japan. It is called Shinshin (心神 heart spirit) or Mitsubishi ATD-X. The construction of the Mitsubishi ATD-X (Shinshin) is of course top-secret but some generic features and goals have been publicly reported by authorities. The organization in charge of the project us the TRDI Japanese Ministry of Defense Technical Research and Development Institute for the research part. The physical construction of the plane will be assigned to the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a company also involved in the development of the new submarine class Soryu. Although the initial name is Shinshin, there is no an official name reported from the Air Self-Defense Forces. This year, in 2015, it is expected to have the first trial flight. We are all expecting this moment and verify the technical data of the aircraft.
Five years ago, Japan was seriously considering a replacement for its fighter fleet composed mainly of F-15s, F-2 and Phantoms. The first candidate was the F-22 Raptor. However, two main factors prevented this operation. The first one is that the F-22 is a very expensive model and could not be bought in many quantities. The second reason, the most important, is that the US precluded the selling of the aircraft to any country, with the idea to keep under control and secret the most advanced technologies of the plane. Because the requirement was to have stealth capability it forced Japan to develop its own fighter, in which they could investigate in deep stealth capability and also the new avionics necessary for the development of stealth fighters.Although Japan is purchasing F-35 too for its fleet, it is expected that the stealth capabilities of the Mitsubishi ATD-X (Shinshin) would be superior. Anyway, it is an experimental project in which the final product is important but the know-how derived from that tasks is even more relevant for strategic reasons. Korea and China, for example, are also developing their own stealth fighters. This technology is therefore strategic and a country without that knowledge could be quickly put in disadvantage.
First a model at scale 1/5 was constructed and tested in France. After approval, a several billion-project was launched in 2007 and it is expected that the production of plane starts in 2017 with a possible maiden flight this year, 2015. The final serial production of the ATD-X will produce the new F-3s by approximately 2027.
One of the most striking capabilities, which does not exist in other stealth constructed fighter, is the so-called Self Repairing Flight Control Capability’ (自己修復飛行制御機能).This feature allows the plane to detect damage and optimize the rest of the working systems to compensate the damage and continue the flight under control.