09/03/2011 by Armed Forces International's Aviation Expert
Three nations – the US, Russia and China - currently have stealth combat aircraft either in service or involved in flight trials. Now, a fourth is set to join them, with the news that Japan is advancing a stealth aircraft technology project to achieve first flight status in 2014. The Japanese stealth fighter’s development follows unsuccessful attempts to acquire the US-built Boeing F-22 Raptor design to serve in the JASDF – the Japanese Air Self Defence Force. The Japanese Air Self Defence Force presently operates over 800 aircraft, of which the sharp end is represented by a mixture of indigenous and US types. Newer Mitsubishi F-2 multirole fighters serve alongside F-15J Eagles and F-4EJ Kai Phantom IIs. Both of these were fighter products that originated in the United States and Japan had hoped to continue this legacy of operating American fighters into the future.