Japan on Thursday unveiled its first stealth fighter jet, officials said, with the maiden test flight planned for next month.
The defence ministry's acquisition agency showed off the domestically developed, radar-dodging X-2 fighter at a regional airport near the central city of Komaki.
Its first flight is scheduled in mid-February before delivery to the defence ministry by the end of March next year, the acquisition agency said.
A prototype of the first Japan-made stealth fighter is pictured at a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' factory in Toyoyama town, Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo January 28, 2016. Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo
The X-2, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, measures 14.2 meters (47 feet) long and 9.1 meters wide and was built as a successor to the F-2 fighter jets developed jointly with the United States.
The US B-52 Stratofortress (C) was escorted by a South Korean F-15K fighter jet (L) and a US F-16 fighter jet (R) as it flew over the air base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on January 10, 2016 Photo: AFP/Jung Yeon-Je
Presently, only the United States, Russia and China have been internationally recognized as having successfully developed and flown manned stealth jets, the agency said.
A Rafale fighter jet is catapulted from the flight deck as it leaves on a mission aboard France's Charles de Gaulle Aircraft carrier in the Gulf, January 28, 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Japan has reportedly spent about 39.4 billion yen ($332 million) to develop the aircraft.
In November Japan's first domestically produced passenger jet, also developed by Mitsubishi Heavy, made its maiden test flight, a landmark development for the country after being barred from developing aircraft following its defeat in World War II.