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Mitsubishi F-3

Prototype stealthy multi-role fighter

Mitsubishi F-3

Japan wants to field stealthy F-3 fighter in light of China's rapid military modernization

 
 
Entered service ?
Crew 1 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 14.17 m
Wing span 9.09 m
Height 4.51 m
Weight (empty) ?
Weight (maximum take off) 13 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x IHI XF5-1 turbofans
Traction (dry / with afterburning) ?
Maximum speed ?
Service ceiling ?
Ferry range ?
Combat radius ?
Armament
Cannon ?
Missiles ?
Bombs ?

 

   The Mitsubishi F-3 is a planned Japanese indigenous fifth generation fighter. It is planed to evolve from Advanced Technology Demonstrator - X (ATD-X) program. This aircraft is widely known in Japan as Shinshin. Japan wants to field a stealthy fighter in light of China's rapid military modernization. A first mock-up of the ATD-X was constructed in 2005. It was used to study radar cross section in France. Some sources claim that originally the ATD-X was a paper project, intended to pressure the US. Japan wanted to buy American F-22 Raptor stealthy air superiority fighter, however Pentagon refused to allow it. Then funding was provided for development of indigenous aircraft. Currently this aircraft is still under development. First flight commenced in 2016. This first aircraft is used as technology demonstrator and research prototype. Development should be completed in 2017. The Mitsubishi F-3 could reach production after a couple of years. Once operational it will replace a fleet of older Japanese F-15J and Mitsubishi F-2 fighters.

   It is claimed that the F-3 uses advanced stealth technology to reduce its radar cross section. It is the first Japan's domestically made stealth fighter. It is also equipped with other advanced systems.

   By its looks the F-3 has some stealthy features, however it might not be as stealthy as F-22 Raptor or F-35 Lightning II. In terms of stealthiness it might be closer to the recent Chinese stealthy aircraft, Russian Sukhoi PAK FA, or Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle. It appears that "fully" stealth aircraft are costly. The F-22 was deemed too expensive for 1 on 1 replacement of the F-15J fleet. Yet aircraft with moderate stealth retain full agility and lower production costs. With the rise of China's air power Japan felt that it needs to increase the number of airframes beyond current levels.

   A prototype has a 3D thrust vectoring capability. Thrust vectoring engines are also being developed for the full-scale production aircraft. Engines will be produced by Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries.

   The aircraft will be fitted with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. It is claimed that the radar will have capabilities for electronic countermeasures, communications functions and possibly even microwave weapon functions.

   The Mitsubishi F-3 is planned to have a flight-by-optics flight control system. Data is transmitted by optical fibers rather than wires. In this way data is transmitted faster and is immune to electromagnetic disturbance.

   The new Japanese aircraft will have a so-called self repairing flight control capability. It will allow the aircraft to detect failures or damage in its flight control surfaces. The system will calibrate accordingly remaining control surfaces to retain controlled flight.

   The Mitsubishi F-3 is not expected to be operational until the 2020s. In the meantime Japan ordered 42 F-35A Lightning II with conventional take-off and landing. It is an interim measure to replace around 100 older F-15 aircraft.

 

Video of the Mitsubishi F-3 stealthy fighter aircraft

 
Mitsubishi F-3

Mitsubishi F-3

Mitsubishi F-3

Mitsubishi F-3

Mitsubishi F-3

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