The J-2 Shinobi was a light starfighter operated by the Eastern Bloc before and after they left their original territories on Earth to found their new star nation on the southwestern rim of human space. Manufactured by Chin Hua Heavy Industries, first in Shengyang, China, and then on their new capital planet of Showa, it was part of the same generation of starfighters as the F-3 Maverick and can be thought of as its counterpart in the Bloc military.
Slightly larger and heavier than the Maverick, but lighter than later fighters such as the F-7 Corsair, Shinobis fought in various border skirmishes against the Earth Fleet, during the Third Civil War invasion of Federation space, against Bugs, and finally against the Vin Shriak invaders who ultimately destroyed the Bloc. A handful of squadrons survived the demise of the Bloc to find their way into the hands of private collectors (like the Ysusyama clan), local planetary-defense squadrons, or were turned over to local police forces for use against smugglers and pirates. A few others ended up in the hands of such smugglers and pirates. A tiny number even survived to form the nucleus of the Terran Republic Navy's fighter squadrons before the introduction of the LAF-1 Shrieker.
The Shinobi is armed with a pair of extremely heavy railguns built into either side of the main fuselage, and a pair of light 8-cm Chemlasers on each wingtip. It also has an internal weapons bay built into the belly that can carry up to eight anti-fighter missiles, generally a mix of heavy Katana and lighter Wakizashi models, or two of the heavier Taichi anti-ship missiles.
Seaon Eight Alternate Timeline
Shinobi fighters played a large role in the defeat of the Federation after the devastating Vin Shriak invasion, but were mostly withdrawn from service shortly thereafter in favor of the heavier J-6 Ronin model.
Behind the Scenes
This design for a starfighter has been knocking around Martin's head since he was about six years old, and is based on the shape of a human hand making the ASL sign for "airplane". Martin used to fight elaborate space fighter battles inspired by Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica by using his hands as toy fighters, since his parents refused to buy him anything as violence-themed as a toy fighter plane.