Updated: 08/12/2014 13:01 | By Agence France-Presse

Japan to test first homegrown stealth fighter jet: report

A group of major Japanese firms are planning a test flight next year for the nation's first homegrown stealth fighter jet, a report said Tuesday.


Japan to test first homegrown stealth fighter jet: report

File photo shows the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a US military aircraft

The consortium -- led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries -- is developing a jet that has similar technology to US-made F-35 stealth fighters, with a prototype set for a test run in January, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper said.

About 39.2 billion yen ($384 million) has been invested in the project, said the report, which did not cite sources.

Following the initial flight, the jet will undergo about two years of testing at the defence ministry with Tokyo set to decide on whether to buy the plane by early 2019, it added.

The story could not be immediately confirmed.

Japan, which sees a security alliance with the United States as a cornerstone of its foreign policy, has long depended on US manufacturers for military hardware.

But the conservative government has been looking to expand Japan's military influence, and has relaxed a self-imposed ban on weapons exports.

Last month, Tokyo loosened the bonds on Japan's powerful military, proclaiming the right to go into battle in defence of allies, in a highly controversial shift for the officially pacifist country.

The development of a homegrown jet comes amid worsening tensions with Beijing over rival claims to islands in the East China Sea.

Japan said last month that its military scrambled fighter jets a record 340 times in the three months to June in response to feared intrusions on its airspace.

Chinese government ships and planes have been seen off the disputed islands dozens of times since Japan nationalised some of the archipelago nearly two years ago.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。