At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Japan sought 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. 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. 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.

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. As of 2007, the ATD-X is expected to conduct its maiden flight in 2014.


General characteristics

Crew: 1

Length: 14.174 meters (46.50 feet)

Wingspan: 9.099 meters (29.85 feet)

Height: 4.514 meters (14.80 feet)

Max takeoff weight: 8 tonnes max takeoff weight alt = 17,636 pounds ()

Powerplant: 2 x IHI XF5-1.

Dry thrust: 10 tonnes (22,046 pounds) each

Thrust with afterburner: 15 tonnes (33,069 pounds) each