07 October 2007

Mitsubishi "Lancer Evo" terbang kembali... Zero fighter

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 aircraft sent to oppose it.

...but gramps sure would be proud!...but gramps sure would be proud!
Now it seems that a descendant of the legendary Zero may soon be stretching its wings across the skies of Japan - and perhaps further afield. Alarmed by new developments in 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 fighter to replace their current F-15 Eagles. The F-22 is packed with the latest avionic 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.

"Son of Zero", resplendent in carbon fiber"Son of Zero", resplendent in carbon fiber
So it was that on August 9, the above photo was taken of what may be Japan's next-generation fighter. The 46 foot long carbon fiber mock-up was designed and built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, builder of the Zero, at their Komakiminami Factory in Aichi prefecture. Freshly returned from France where it had undergone testing of its stealth technology, the 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