Japanese MoD denies reports of 2015 first flight for ATD-X prototype


Japanese MoD denies reports of 2015 first flight for ATD-X prototype

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

12 August 2014

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD)'s Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have both dismissed news reports that the Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X (ATD-X) fighter prototype will make its maiden flight in January 2015.

The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported on 12 August that MHI had decided to conduct the first flight of the ATD-X, a prototype for a future fighter to replace the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's Mitsubishi F-2, in January. The newspaper did not disclose its source.


The newspaper also said the MoD would make a final decision on whether to proceed with production by fiscal year 2018 after assessing the aircraft's capabilities and cost. It said MHI would deliver the prototype to the MoD by the end of March 2015.

Similarly, Jiji Press on 12 August reported MHI plans to conduct the test flight of the aircraft as early as January, citing a government-related official as its news source.

However, a TRDI spokesman denied both reports to IHS Jane's , saying: "We have not firmed up when the first test flight of the ATD-X will be conducted."

An MHI spokesman: "We didn't announce that. We will decide when to conduct the first flight in consultation with the MoD."


In April Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera reaffirmed the MoD's plan for a first flight for the ATD-X this year, adding in the Diet that the ministry would decide by FY18 whether to build a future stealth fighter domestically or via international joint development, based on parameters such as technological achievements and cost effectiveness.

The ATD-X, also known as 'Shinshin' meaning 'Spirit of the heart', is being built by MHI's plant at Komaki Minami in Nagoya. It has been designed to be a stealthy air-superiority fighter with enhanced manoeuvrability. The MoD will use it to research advanced technologies and system integration, after which it plans to produce a 'sixth-generation' fighter encompassing i3 (informed, intelligent and instantaneous) concepts and counter-stealth capabilities.


Meanwhile, the TRDI on 12 August released four photographs of the ATD-X taken on 8 May. In the images, some parts of the landing gear and exhaust slots have been blurred.

Related articles:
•Japan's indigenous stealth jet prototype 'to fly this year'
•Japanese MoD requests USD55 million for first flight of ATD-X prototype

(377 words)
posted by Kosuke at 17:09| Comment(0) | Jane's Defence Weekly


North Korea “imminent threat” to security – Japan defense paper


North Korea “imminent threat” to security – Japan defense paper

Japan cites DPRK missile and WMD programme, contributing to "increasingly severe" security situation

August 5th, 2014 Kosuke Takahashi & Hamish MacDonald

Japan concluded that North Korea is contributing to an “increasingly severe” security situation in Northeast Asia, an annual White Paper released on Tuesday said.

The report, which is published every summer by the Japanese Defense Ministry, said North Korea’s improving missile capabilities formed part of the increased threat towards Japan.

“The development of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and missiles by North Korea constitutes, coupled with provocative words and actions, including missile attacks against Japan, a serious and imminent threat to the security of Japan,” the report said.

Citing North Korean state media articles from 2013 that listed Japanese cities within range of missiles attacks as evidence of ongoing and direct provocation, the report argued that “maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is vital for the peace and stability of the entire East Asian region”.

The paper included an individual section on the Korean Peninsula and provided a detailed assessment of North Korea’s military capabilities., including assessments of air, ground, naval and cyber warfare units.


Significantly, the White Paper mentioned threats from North Korea’s KN-08 mobile Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) and Scud-ER (Extended Range) missiles for the first time.

The KN-08, which was showcased at military rallys in Pyongyang in April 2012 and July 2013, has a range of between 5,000-6,000km, while the Scud-ER is estimated to have a range of between 800-1000km.

Credit: Japanese Ministry of Defense

“The KN08 is carried by a Transport Erector Launcher (TEL), making it difficult to detect signs of its launch in advance,” the paper read.

The report also refers to the 1,000km range of North Korea’s Scud-ER, which would bring parts of Japan within striking distance of the missile. However, some observers aren’t sold on the Japanese Government’s assessment of the Scud-ER.

“Ultimately I am skeptical of that 1,000km range, there seems to be very little hard data publicly supporting it,” Scott LaFoy a Washington D.C. based researcher told NK News.

Some news outlets “perhaps latched onto an early mention of 1000km, which would be necessary to strike Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, and the outskirts of Tokyo,” LaFoy added.


The report made much of the fact that North Korea continues to regularly fire missiles and artillery, many off its East Coast towards Japan.

“In both 2013 and 2014, North Korea repeatedly engaged in provocative acts, including the implication of missile launch towards Japan,” the report said, adding that the Ministry Of Defence continue to take defensive measures against such launches.

The paper reiterated Japan’s stance on North Korea’s proliferation activities, saying that the continued attempts to acquire nuclear weapons “constitutes a serious destabilizing factor to the security not only of Japan but of the entire region and the international community.”

“Needless to say, North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons cannot be tolerated,” the report read.

The white paper also cautioned that further North Korean ICBM and nuclear progress might lead into a false a sense of security, leading to potential “increases in and the escalation of military provocations by North Korea in the region”.

The report comes as Japan’s Foreign Ministry is increasing cooperation with Pyongyang, aimed at finally resolving the issue of missing Japanese citizens.

posted by Kosuke at 00:46| Comment(0) | NK News


Japanese White Paper accuses China of taking 'high-handed actions'


Japanese White Paper accuses China of taking 'high-handed actions'

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

04 August 2014

Japan's 2014 defence White Paper has accused China of taking "high-handed actions" over maritime rights and interests in the waters off East Asia.

"The security environment surrounding Japan has become increasingly severe, being compassed by various challenges and destabilising factors, which are becoming more tangible and acute," stated the annual White Paper, which was published by the Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 5 August.


On Beijing it noted: "China has adopted high-handed actions with regard to issues of conflicts of interest in the maritime domain, as exemplified by its attempts to change the status quo by coercion."

The paper said that those actions are "based on China's own assertion, which is incompatible with the existing international law and order", and "include dangerous acts that could cause unintended consequences and raise concerns over China's future direction" and which "raise security concerns for the regional and international community".

The White Paper for the first time mentioned China's intensifying flight activities along Japan's airspace boundaries, stating: "Japan is deeply concerned about the establishment of 'the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ)' and noting that the flights "are profoundly dangerous acts that unilaterally change the status quo, escalate the situation, and may cause unintended consequences in the East China Sea". Beijing declared its ADIZ in November 2013, bringing about protests by Japan and the United States.

The White Paper also pointed out that provocative actions by North Korea are "a serious destabilising factor to the security not only of Japan but of the entire region and the international community". It for the first time mentioned the KN-08 mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), showcased by North Korea at major military parades in Pyongyang in April 2012 and July 2013, as well as 'Scud-ER' (extended range) missiles with a range of 800-1,000 km.


"Should North Korea have a false sense of confidence and recognition regarding its deterrence, this could lead to increases in and the escalation of military provocations by North Korea in the region and could create situations that are deeply worrying also for Japan," it stated.

As for Moscow, the White Paper noted that "Russia's changing of the status quo by coercive measures such as the annexation of Crimea into Russia is a global issue that also impacts Asia and elsewhere".

In addition to outlining perceived threats to Japanese interests, the paper also underscored various new security developments under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: the establishment of a National Security Council that is "the control tower" of the nation's security and defence; the first National Security Strategy (NSS) and the National Defense Programme Guidelines (NDPG) that introduced the concept of "a Dynamic Joint Defense Force"; a new concept emphasising the Japan Self-Defense Forces' joint operations and interoperability capability at sea, in the air and on land; the abolition of the nation's decades-old ban on weapons exports; and the reinterpretation of the constitution to allow the exercising of a right to collective self-defence.

The White Paper is a useful tool for analysts seeking to understand Japanese defence thinking and, along with the MoD's budget request (published every year around late August or early September), sets out Tokyo's priorities and concerns.

Defence officials briefing on the White Paper pointed out that the Chinese national defence budget, in terms of its nominal size, has grown about 40-fold over the past 26 years and almost quadrupled in size over the past 10 years. To cope with this rising power, they emphasised that Japan has also strengthened its defence capabilities, noting that Tokyo's defence expenditures have climbed for the second consecutive year under the Abe administration.

However, with government debt already at more than 230% of GDP, there is a limit to how much fiscal stimulus can be applied to the national defence budget.
posted by Kosuke at 22:13| Comment(0) | Jane's Defence Weekly