TOKYO -- The Ministry of Defense will conduct its initial field test of Japan's first domestically developed stealth fighter jet as early as this month.
The X-2 prototype stealth jet, whose development team is led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, made its maiden flight in April, demonstrating the plane's capability to fly without a hitch.
The field test will focus on evaluating the X-2's stealth technologies, a matter that was not under consideration in the April flight. The ministry will carry out more tests by end of this fiscal year in March.
The ministry will decide by fiscal 2018 whether a successor to the Air Self-Defense Force's F-2 fighter jet should be developed solely by a domestic team or through cooperation with foreign partners.
The X-2 uses radar-absorbing materials made of carbon fiber, rendering detection difficult. Japan is the fourth country to develop a stealth fighter following the U.S., Russia and China.