Japan's Technical Research & Development Institute (TRDI) recently unveiled images of the Mitsubishi ATD-X stealth fighter in the form of a full-scale radar cross-section (RCS) model. One picture was released a few months ago by TRDI, but has now disappeared from their site. Other images can be found here. They include a presentation slide confirming that France has been supporting the Japanese stealth program: between September and November 2005, the model was tested in the French government's radar cross-section (RCS) range. Other features of the twin-engine jet include thrust vectoring with external paddles, an F-22-like external shape, fly-by-light controls and the testing of a smart-skin sensor.
In some ways the ATD-X project is comparable to BAE Systems' Replica stealth demonstration in the mid-1990s. It's not likely that the Japanese government will fund the development of an operational stealth fighter, but the domestic capability may be used to ease US concerns about exporting its own stealth aircraft to Japan. Further down the road, too, the same technology could be used in other systems such as cruise missiles or unmanned air vehicles.
Using the French range is logical. At Bruz, near Rennes, France's DGA defense agency's CELAR (center for military electronics) laboratory constructed the Solange indoor RCS range. A photo found here shows that Solange may be the biggest indoor RCS range in the world, capable of measuring a real fighter rather than a subscale mock-up. The same site also confirms that Solange was built with the help of a US company, absorber specialist Emerson & Cuming.