Japan’s new Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency (ATLA) revealed that tests of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries experimental fifth-generation fighter technology demonstrator (ATD-X), now dubbed X-2 and unofficially named ‘ShinShin,’ are proceeding according to plan.
In an email to Flight Global, an ATLA representative said that the “[t]he aircraft is performing well so far. We are proceeding with tests, performing very careful maintenance, and making some minor adjustments.” ATLA did not divulge additional details. The tests are taking place at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries testing center, located in Aichi Prefecture on Japan’s main island of Honshu.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) originally announced in January 2016 that the aircraft would make its maiden flight in February of this year (See: “Japan’s 5th Generation Stealth Fighter to Make Maiden Flight in Early 2016”). However, this has not occurred and ATLA refused to name a new date for the aircraft’s first takeoff.
Delays in the development of the X-2 prototype have not been unusual; various technical problems, including issues with the engine control software, have repeatedly pushed back the testing timeline.
The X-2’s first flight is expected to take the technology demonstrator from Mitsubishi testing center in Aichi Prefecture to Gifu Air Field, an airbase of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, situated in the neighboring prefecture of Gifu.