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ASF-X Shinden II - Flight Testing

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posted by alias Entropedian on Sunday 29th of October 2017 05:07:14 PM

The ASF-X Shinden II is an advanced prototype STOVL aircraft developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. One of the harshest lessons of the Second World War for Japan was that losing air superiority over the home islands would all but ensure defeat in a conflict. Currently, the JASDF relies on an entirely CTOL fighter force – a very advanced one for sure – but one that is supremely vulnerable to any strikes designed to eliminate airbases or their runways. With the emergence of the Union of Songun Republics and their extensive development of ballistic and cruise missile technology designed to eliminate these bases, the need for a truly high performance fighter that could operate from virtually any roadway became a paramount priority. The Advanced Strike Fighter program was actually the first post-USR aircraft program launched by Japan, predating even the program that would produce the F-3 Yamakaze. However, the difficult requirements for ASF posed considerable technological risks and complexity, delaying the project and making it one of Japan’s most expensive programs in history. After nearly two decades of R&D, the “Shinden II” was rolled out for demonstrations, perplexing the world with its exceptionally unorthodox design. The ASF-X features an over-under arrangement for its twin engines, not seen in a fighter since the English Electric Lightning, allowing one engine to fully vector thrust downwards while the other has exhaust diverted through nozzles allowing for a very short take-off distance, even when fully laden. The aircraft uses proprietary boundary flow control technology to ensure airflow is not cut off from the main (dorsal) intake, even at high angles-of-attack. To assist with stability at high speeds, the wingtips fold down (also useful for proposed shipboard storage) and the vertical stabilizers cant inwards. These features make the aircraft exceptionally complex and costly, though the resulting performance is allegedly superior to any aircraft of its kind. Though some stealth measures were taken, a completely stealthy design was considered to be too limiting to pursue. The ASF-X fleet is currently very small, being used for testing and evaluation. However, MHI has incorporated a full range of weaponry into the aircraft in an attempt to prove the aircraft is ready for production, and should be purchased as soon as possible. However, the extreme cost (upfront, maintenance and service-life) has made even the most hawkish politicians balk at the prospect. At the moment, the fleet is being tested to see which concepts and technologies are truly viable, and which are unnecessary. This particular example is seen flying over the Nellis Test Range in Nevada as part of an evaluation by the US Military. One airman purportedly stated “this shit looks like something straight out of an anime.” ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This build was entirely based off of the ASF-X Shinden II from the Ace Combat franchise, which was (unsurprisingly) designed by Shōji Kawamori, creator of the Macross series, known for so-called “variable fighters.” A super big thank you to Corvin Stichert for rescuing my shoddy photography work. Also a big thanks to the Brickfair Crew (Magnus, Ralph, Aleks, Evan) and everyone who helped me along the way. It felt good to actually build something again, though unfortunately I have once again fallen into a major slump.

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  • Published 07.07.22
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