MITSUBISHI'S prototype FS-X support-fighter is expected to make its first flight on 19 September, after encountering some early problems with the aircraft's emergency-power unit.

The aircraft has been equipped with an AlliedSignal emergency- power unit, modified to run on Japanese JP4 fuel. The system has had start-up and flame-out problems at low loads, but is expected to be ready for the first flight.

The Japan Defence Agency (JDA) is meanwhile requesting '144 billion ($1.5 billion) in funding in the next 1996 defence budget to order the first 12 production aircraft. Final Government approval is likely to reduce this to ten aircraft, say local defence sources.

The JDA's new five-year plan calls for the procurement of 47 aircraft by fiscal year 2000. Total FS-X production is likely to be capped at 70 aircraft, unless the JDA can win support to buy a similar number of two-seat FS-X trainer versions.

Source: Flight International