Japan's first stealth fighter jet has successfully taken to the skies as the country joins a select group of world military powers wielding the radar-dodging technology.
The X-2 jet took off from Nagoya airport in central Japan on its maiden test flight as dozens of aviation enthusiasts watching the event erupted in applause as it lifted off.
The single-pilot prototype safely landed at Gifu air base, north of Nagoya airport, after a 25-minute flight with 'no particular problems,' said an official at the defence ministry's acquisition agency.
The X-2, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 200 other firms, measures 14.2 metres (47 feet) long and 9.1 metres wide and was built as a successor to F-2 fighter jets developed jointly with the United States.
Its delivery to the defence ministry is expected as early as next month and the acquisition agency 'will continue analysing data and check its stealth technology capability,' the agency official told AFP.Japan began the project in 2009 and has reportedly spent about 39.4 billion yen ($332 million) to develop the aircraft.