New JASDF Stealth Fighter Jet to be "Made In Japan"

Not your grandfather's Mitsubishi...Not your grandfather's Mitsubishi...
The words "Mitsubishi fighter" still have the power to send a chill down the spines of American war history buffs. It was, after all, just 65 years ago that the Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" ruled the skies over the Pacific by outclassing the vast majority of Allied WW2 fighter planes sent to oppose it. (above drawing by J. P. Santiago)

...but gramps sure would be proud!...but gramps sure would be proud!
Now it seems that a descendant of the legendary Zero fighter may soon be stretching its wings across the skies of Japan - and perhaps further afield. Alarmed by new developments in stealth fighter aircraft technology displayed by traditional adversaries China and Russia, JASDF (Japan Air Self-Defense Forces) planners have been attempting to acquire the American F-22 Raptor jet fighter to replace their current F-15 Eagle fighter planes.

The F-22 Raptor is packed with the latest avionics and stealth technology but its high tech features have the Pentagon concerned about security leaks.

Stealthy, speedy and made in JapanStealthy, speedy and made in Japan
Even though the United States would lose out financially by not selling Japan the F-22, security issues are front & center these days and Japan is now looking to its own aircraft designers to provide a home-grown solution.

If the history of Japan is any guide, we can expect a more than respectable match for the F-22, F-19 or other state of the art jet fighters to eventually roll off the Mitsubishi production lines.


"Son of Zero", resplendent in carbon fiber"Son of Zero", resplendent in carbon fiber
The process may already be in motion - on August 9, the above photo was taken of what may be Japan's next-generation stealth fighter jet. The 46 foot long carbon fiber mock-up was designed and built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, builder of the Zero and many other WW2 fighter planes, at their Komakiminami Factory in Aichi prefecture.

Freshly returned from France where it had undergone testing of its stealth technology, this sleek mock-up foreshadows what just might be the future of Japanese military aviation. (via News On Japan and newsinfo.inquirer, Zero image c/o murphybytes)

Steve Levenstein
Japanese Innovations Writer

Aug 14, 2007
by AmericanCynic

Japan should do what they do best

They've never done well in the aviation field. They have no front-line fighters of their own nor even any airliners built in Japan. What Japan does far better than the US is electronics and miniaturization. They should concentrate on UAVs, not manned fighters. Smaller, faster, more agile than the Raptor. And they have no shortage of Playstation-trained videogamers with quick reflexes who can pilot them from ground stations with no problems since they wouldn't have to be G-rated in centrifuges. Nor do they have a bunch of hotshot pilots who feel their manhood is threatened if they're not actually inside a cockpit. Don't copy the USAF. Leapfrog it.

Aug 29, 2007
by Kiitana (not verified)

Go For It

It is time for Japan to truly step forward and have a true military once again. With the existing relationship between the USA and Japan, having a stronger Japan will only help serve as a stonger buffer against an emerging China as well as an increasingly desperate North Korea. They need something like this (as well as an increased Navy) to serve for both national defense as well as increasing reginal stability.

Aug 29, 2007
by Sageward (not verified)

Japanese Stealth Fighter

The aircraft does not look as stealthy as either the F-22 or F-35. It is more likely the Japanese will buy the F-22 and F-35 if they can wrench production and technology concession from the US. This design exercise is probably intended to keep the Japanes aeronautical industry current (the Japanese are major component manufactures for commercial aircraft), and give the Japanese a bargaining chip to use as leverage in negotiation with the US for fighters and technology transfer as this program, if pursued to fruition, would give the Japanese an alternative to US technology and aircraft though it would be many years behind US designs.

The Japanese produced very good airframes in WWII, but lagged in engine technology and advanced electronics applications in aeronautical design. This is still the case today.

Oct 6, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

Unmanned aircraft

How long would it take enemies to develop signal jamming technologies to confuse or disable UAVs? Or locate and destroy the centers where these UAVs are being controlled from?

Oct 6, 2007
by Dave (not verified)

Engineering education

Japanese engineering has always been hobbled by the lack of forward thinkers coming from their educational system. It's good at creating great followers, but not so good at creating innovators. Now in the US on the other hand, we teach individualism and... no we don't, a lot of past and current scientific and engineering achievement was done by foreign immigrants. And now we're hobbled by teaching Christian 'truthiness' instead of science in our classrooms. Nevermind..

Oct 6, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

OT: Hoax photo?

Does it seem odd to anyone else that the "mock up" appears to be on a green screen stage (more suited for Hollywood filming than prototyping)?

Oct 6, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

Air defense

Recently, I've read the new commander of the American Civil Air Patrol (CAP, part of the US Air Force) is now a woman, a first , appointed to replace another volunteer accused of certification fraud. Japan should have better defense patrols to protect itself saving American tax dollars in the  bargain I'd imagine. Having eyewitness and fast search and rescue (SAR) would be a benefit to all nations should the situations arise. I've been following the disappearence of Steve Fossett and feel this way as a result of the lack of our own government ability to locate the world record holding aviator who disappeared September 3, 2007 near what was once the world's largest munitions storage facility" whi le the US is in an ill-defined war on multiple fronts in southwest Asia. Currently, volunteers are using Amazon's mTurk to scan satellite imagery for him and the plane he took off of in from Barron Hilton's "Flying M Ranch " in Nevada, USA (the heiress' grandfather).

Oct 6, 2007
by JamesW (not verified)

I'm all for it

I still think we should sell it to them. We would only benefit from a militarily strong Japan, and they are one of our strongest allies.

 What better way to generate good will?

 But of course, we're too scared of what China will think.

 It's time to stop worrying about what they will think and look after our allies and interests.

Oct 6, 2007
by Mark Richards (not verified)

Japanese militarism

"They've never done well in the aviation field."

This story mentions the A6M. This airplane had the US baffled for several years. It was, in every aspect, far superior to anything else. Japan doesn't fool around. My bet is on their success and, very likely, their advancement beyond what we have here. Hell, their mobile phones are light years ahead of ours. Their public transit system is first class, High speed internet is available everywhere. And now the Japanese have a complex moon mission in progress as I write this - with an unmanned orbiter circling the moon.

Instead of wasting their national treasure on oil-seeking missions, they've focused on good international relations. Hence they get the oil they need and don't have to blow people up to keep it coming.

I do not agree with those who would encourage Japan to become a military power. However, given the current US maladministration tendency towards unchecked international military muscle-flexing, even our close allies are obviously becoming concerned. In Japan, all it would take is an Ishihara type (very right-wing and nationalistic mayor of Tokyo) to tip the nation towards a more militaristic stance. Then let the US try to screw them again in trade agreements.

Japan already invests an enormous amount of wealth into the SDF. The difference is in the use of forces. When there's an earthquake, sunami, or taifoon, the SDF are always on scene with sufficient forces and infrastructure to help.

Contrast America, where a simple hurricane triggered a pitiful emergency response. All the help were a world away blowing things up.

Oct 6, 2007
by Steve Levenstein
Steve Levenstein's picture

On the Zero...

True, the Zero was far superior to Allied planes at the start of the war, but its speed and agility were achieved at the expense of pilot protection. Self-sealing fuel tanks and armor plating added weight and were defensive in nature - the Zero was built to WIN wars. As well, the Zero was SO good that Japan waited far too long before designing a replacement. By then their factories were being bombed. Overconfidence can be fatal.

Oct 6, 2007
by Todd Fiedler (not verified)

Ignore the simple minded responses

A simple huricane? Undoubtably you have not been their since that "simple" huricane hit! While I definately feel nothing but disgust for the current administration of this country, I think your comments are shallow minded and lacking in any semblance of reason or understanding.

 Sure, Japan has better high speed internet, the population density of the country makes that possible. Consider Japan at 330+ per sq km and the U.S. at 30 or so per sq km. Makes it a lot easier to build a truly efficient national transit system too.

 And national disasters, Katrina excluded, are normally met with a swift and effective response from the national guard in the U.S. as well.

I would caution this person, and those that share such simple minded views of the United States, that a failure to appreciate the differences between your average American and the people in power is the thing that most irritates us in these Unites States, and in fact, drives the xenophobia you pretend to abhore.

I'm sure this person was in the United States too, but given their ranting, I'm also sure they represent the extremely small minority on one of the ends of the political spectrum, and therefore don't speak for the 80% of the population that finds the current administration, and the one threatened by the next presidential race, disturbing and out of touch.

For the rest of the world, come to the middle of America and find out who we are. We are not the east coast or the west coast. We are hard working compassionate people who care for the rest of the world but don't necessarily want to emulate it, and we help out our neighbors as best we can.

Oct 6, 2007
by Daphne (not verified)

Let's not forget our history lessons...+ general human nature...

There are no perment allies.No permanent enemies.Only permanent interests!

Oct 6, 2007
by Thorne (not verified)


Brilliantly stated, we exist in a world of opportunists and shifting ideologies all selfserving in their own agends.

Oct 7, 2007
by Pete (not verified)

Boy, sure looks alot like the Raptor

Will this be yet another American innovation perfected by the Japanese? You'll probably be able to buy one at your local Honda dealership in 5 years. Full afterburner out of the driveway! That should PO the neighbors.

Oct 7, 2007
by Dave (not verified)

Internet and Hurricanes

You might want to note that Canada's high-speed capability is slightly above or slightly below that of the US (depending on whose numbers you use), and our population density is only a tiny fraction of yours. Population density is no excuse.

You may also want to compare a bad typhoon with Katrina. Typhoons, which hit Japan on a regular basis (and don't result in Katrina-type disasters), are often bigger and stronger than Katrina. Iliang (Zeb) hit the Philippines with 160 mile per hour winds. Typhoon Tip, which spent most of its fury out at sea, had peak winds of 190 miles per hour and a diameter of nearly 1,400 miles. Compare that to Katrina's 150 mph peak winds and 400-500 mile diameter.

The problem with Katrina is that George Bush stuffed every government agency on the books, including FIMA, with buddies, fundamentalist zealots and party hacks. The results were predictable. Do you seriously believe that another disaster would have been dealt with more effectively by his administration? Their record in Iraq and with treatment of injured vets argues differently. Both parties have a record for cronyism, but never on anything close to the scale Bush employed.

I'll tell you one thing: if I ever want to turn off an American's brain and get him to agree with just about anything I say, I just preface it with the line, "Well, America has the best (Whatever) in the world, but..." The American will nod solemnly and totally ignore any facts to the contrary. Works every time.

Oct 7, 2007
by green (not verified)

The hurricaine Side subject

This may not fit the popular mythology, but The Katrina debacle was based in a combination of factors, of which Bushes nepotism was only a small contributor.

The local and state governments who were the responsible parties for preparation, evacuation and recovery were in total disarray. Funds intended for the maintainance of he levies were diverted at the local level to pet projects, or just embezzled. The Mayor did not believe reports of the potential damage , and did not mobilize an evacuation until it was too late. Buses that could have evacuated thousands were left to flood in their parking lots, and when locals tried to evacuate on foot after the storm had passed, they were prevented from doing so by surrounding municipalities, sometimes with deadly force.

FEMAs role is to support not supplant local recovery efforts. FEMA was prepared to fulfill that role. Where they failed was in preparing to pick up the clack for an incompetent and corrupt local government.

Oct 8, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

"  I'll tell you one thing:

"  I'll tell you one thing: if I ever want to turn off an American's brain and get him to agree with just about anything I say, I just preface it with the line, "Well, America has the best (Whatever) in the world, but..." The American will nod solemnly and totally ignore any facts to the contrary. Works every time. "  Wow. could you be more retarded and nationalistic pig headed? Please dont speak for all Canadians. What makes us so much better then the Americans? It's people like you that make it harder for us down in the States.

Oct 8, 2007
by mad_cow (not verified)

Robotech Fighter

Does it turn into a robot?  Probably.

Oct 26, 2007
by Lt JG (not verified)

Mitsubishi's new "Zero"

Their new jet looks deadly. You gotta respect the Japanese; they know the way of the Samurai.

Think they can take on North Korea?

Dec 20, 2007
by Matej (not verified)

The first drawing is from J.

The first drawing is from J. P. Santiago. Why isn´t he mentioned in the article??

Jan 15, 2008
by Boston (not verified)

yeah yeah, but...

Your half right. It's great that Japan finally gets to work on some of its own defenses, but if this continues, it could mean the Japanese governemnt spending Billions on military equipment rather than on working on their unstable economy... plus there isn't much reason for China to invade Japan (atleast I can't imagine it happening). Japan's success has been in part its not worrying about its defenses and leaving it to the U.S., and focusing instead on its economy right?

Jan 15, 2008
by Anonymous (not verified)

I think they'd have UAV

I think they'd have UAV device jamming tech already if they can jam cellphone signals

Jan 15, 2008
by Anonymous (not verified)

that was a weird comparison

that was a weird comparison buddy...
Christianity gives people morals while science is constantly changing - quite seperate from religion. Religion doesn't hinder science, the institution began within the church to begin with...

Jan 15, 2008
by Anonymous (not verified)

yep, as i always say, "we

yep, as i always say, "we should have nuked Russia, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Germany, Japan, England, France, Iran... a long time ago"

Jan 15, 2008
by Homermen (not verified)


What the hell does Canada have to do with anything?

Jan 25, 2008
by fountain16969 (not verified)

"The 46 foot long carbon

"The 46 foot long carbon fiber mock-up was designed and built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries"
While it is true, that carbon fiber is stealthy material. However, because of that, it would expose whatever it covers to the radar rays… thus it is not a stealthy aircraft. I would bet the one they send for testing not included engines and all the metal parts that carbon fiber covered.
your truly

Apr 14, 2008
by Anonymous

the robtech fighter, also knowed as F-19.

if the us military do not accept a help or other things like that, i think they should stop worry and build a better fighter like F-19. however, l have lots of designs of new fighters like F-19, that can transform. but F-19 are space fighter. if we have that space fighter, we would be a most powerful military might. if us military do build a fighter like that, we would be a very proud of our military.

Apr 15, 2008
by Anonymous



Apr 15, 2008
by Anonymous


YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jul 16, 2008
by Anonymous

RE: yep, as i always say, "we

You're just one of those stupid redneck hicks. Shut the hell up. It's people like you that make American people look stupid.