MHI Begins Assembly of Full-scale Model for ATD Aircraft Project
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) today began assembly of a full-scale structural-testing model of an Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD). The ATD, which MHI is building under the contract with the Japan Ministry of Defense, will be used to prove the airworthiness of advanced technologies, including stealth capabilities and high maneuverability, for future Japanese fighters. With the commencement of assembly, the ATD project has now moved into the production phase.
To mark the beginning of assembly work, the "first rivet" ceremony was held earlier today at the Tobishima Plant of MHI's Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works in Aichi Prefecture. Among those attendees were Yoshitaka Akiyama, Director General of the Technical Research & Development Institute, the Japan Ministry of Defense; Haruhiko Kataoka, Japan Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff; and Takashi Kobayashi, Representative Director, Executive Vice President and Head of MHI's Aerospace Systems.
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During the ceremony, an equipment mounting bracket was riveted to the bulkhead separating the fuel tank from the forward equipment bay in the mid fuselage, which houses electronic equipments. It marks the first step in the assembly of the ATD aircraft. This riveting was conducted for the full-scale static structural test model to be used to obtain strength data of the aircraft’s basic structural elements and to verify the design of the ATD.
The ATD prototype project was launched in Japanese fiscal year 2009 (April 2009-March 2010) in the situation of next-generation fighter development programs in neighboring countries. Through flight tests of advanced technologies relating to stealth and high maneuverability, the project aims at the empirical research of the advanced fighter technologies and air defense systems that are capable of coping with the stealth fighters that may soon be deployed around Japan.
With the assembly of the full-scale static structural test model as the first step, the ATD project is on track to produce a flight test model that is expected to make its first flight in 2014. The project is slated for completion by the end of March 2017.
MHI is committed to playing a major role in Japanese defense industry going forward and will make every effort to see the ATD project through to a successful completion.
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Source : Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.