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Mitsubishi F-2

mitsubishi f-2, mitsubishi f-2b
The Mitsubishi F-2 is a multirole fighter derived from the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, and manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Lockheed Martin for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, with a 60/40 split in manufacturing between Japan and the United States Production started in 1996 and the first aircraft entered service in 2000 The first 76 aircraft entered service in 2008, with a total of 94 airframes produced The first AESA Active electronically scanned array radar on a combat aircraft was the J/APG-1 introduced on the Mitsubishi F-2 in 19952


  • 1 Development
  • 2 Design
  • 3 Operational history
  • 4 Variants
  • 5 Operators
  • 6 Accidents and incidents
  • 7 Specifications F-2A
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
    • 91 Citations
    • 92 Bibliography
  • 10 External links


Work started in the FS-X program, initially given the company designation Mitsubishi SX-3,3 and began in earnest with a memorandum of understanding between Japan and the United States It would lead to a new fighter based on the General Dynamics post 1993, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, and in particular the F-16 Agile Falcon proposal Lockheed Martin was chosen as the major subcontractor to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and the two companies co-developed and co-produced the aircraft The F-2 used the wing design of the F-16 Agile Falcon, but much of the electronics were further updated to 1990s standards

In October 1987, Japan selected the F-16 as the basis of its new secondary fighter,4 to replace the aging Mitsubishi F-1 and supplement its main air superiority fighter, the F-15J as well as the F-4EJ The program involved technology transfer from the US to Japan and vice versa Responsibility for cost sharing was split 60% by Japan and 40% by the US5 Lockheed Martin would manufacture all the aft fuselages and wing leading-edge flaps and eight of the ten left-hand wingboxes6

The F-2 program was controversial, because the unit cost, which includes development costs, is roughly four times that of a Block 50/52 F-16, which does not include development costs Inclusion of development costs distorts the incremental unit cost this happens with most modern military aircraft, though even at the planned procurement levels, the price per aircraft was somewhat high The initial plan of 141 F-2s would have reduced the unit cost by up to US$10 million€7,5 million per unit, not including reduced cost from mass production As of 2008, 94 aircraft were planned1 Also controversial is the amounts claimed to be paid to American side as various licensing fees, although making use of the pre-existing technology was much cheaper than trying to develop it from scratch

The F-2's maiden flight was on 7 October 1995 Later that year, the Japanese government approved an order for 141 but that was soon cut to 130, to enter service by 1999; structural problems resulted in service entry being delayed until 2000 Because of issues with cost-efficiency, orders for the aircraft were curtailed to 98 including four prototypes in 2004citation needed Flight testing of the four prototypes were conducted by the Japan Defense Agency at Gifu Air Field7

The last of 94 production aircraft ordered under contract was delivered to the Defense Ministry on 27 September 20118 During the roll-out ceremony of the last production F-2 fighter jet, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries confirmed that production of the F-2 would end and no more F-2 fighters will be produced by the manufacturer9 As of 2014update there are 61 single-seaters flying, and 21 two-seat trainers10


General Electric, Kawasaki, Honeywell, Raytheon, NEC, Hazeltine, and Kokusai Electric are among the primary component sub-contractors Lockheed Martin supplies the aft fuselage, leading-edge slats, stores management system, a large portion of wingboxes as part of two-way technology transfer agreements,11 and other components12 Kawasaki builds the midsection of the fuselage, as well as the doors to the main wheel and the engine,5 while forward fuselage and wings are built by Mitsubishi5 Avionics are supplied by Lockheed Martin, and the digital fly-by-wire system has been jointly developed by Japan Aviation Electric and Honeywell formerly Allied Signal5 Contractors for communication systems and IFF interrogators include Raytheon, NEC, Hazeltine, and Kokusai Electric5 Final assembly is done in Japan, by MHI at its Komaki-South facility in Nagoya

Larger wings give better payload and maneuverability in proportion of its thrust, but also tend to add weight to the airframe in various ways More weight can have negative effects on acceleration, climbing, payload, and range To make the larger wings lighter the skin, spars, ribs and cap of the wings were made from graphite-epoxy composite and co-cured in an autoclave This was the first application of co-cured technology to a production tactical fighter5 This technology for the wings encountered some teething problems, but proved to be a leading-edge use of a technology that provides weight savings, improved range, and some stealth benefits This technology was then transferred back to America, as part of the program’s industrial partnership13

The F-2 has three display screens, including a liquid crystal display from Yokogawa

F-2 and F-16 compared

Some differences in the F-2 from the F-16A:

  • a 25% larger wing area
  • composite materials used to reduce overall weight and radar signature
  • longer and wider nose to accommodate a J/APG-1/J/APG-2 active electronically scanned array AESA radar The F-2 was the first operational military aircraft in the world to feature an AESA radar,citation needed before the F-22 Raptor’s AN/APG-77 AESA radar
  • larger tailplane
  • larger air intake
  • three-piece cockpit canopy
  • capabilities for four ASM-1 or ASM-2 anti-ship missiles, four AAMs, and additional fuel tanks

Also, the F-2 is equipped with a drogue parachute, like the version of the F-16 used by South Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Greece, Turkey, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Venezuela

Operational historyedit

On 7 February 2013, two Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 fighters briefly entered Japanese airspace off Rishiri Island near Hokkaido, flying south over the Sea of Japan before turning back to the north14 Four F-2 fighters were scrambled to visually confirm the Russian planes,15 warning them by radio to leave their airspace16 A photo taken by a JASDF pilot of one of the two Su-27s was released by the Japan Ministry of Defense17 Russia denied the incursion, saying the jets were making routine flights near the disputed Kuril Islands14

On 22 August 2013, two Russian Tupolev Tu-142 Bear-F maritime patrol aircraft MPA entered Japanese airspace near the major southern island of Kyushu for less than 2 minutes F-2 fighters were scrambled in response18


F-2 taxiing during an exercise for Cope North
  • XF-2A: Single-seat prototypes
  • XF-2B: Two-seat prototypes
  • F-2A: Single-seat fighter version
  • F-2B: Two-seat training version
  • F-2 Super Kai :


  • Japan Air Self-Defense Force
Air Defense Command
  • Northern Air Defense Force
    • 3rd Air Wing, Misawa Air Base
      • 3rd Tactical Fighter Squadron
  • Western Air Defense Force
    • 8th Wing, Tsuiki Air Base
      • 6th Tactical Fighter Squadron
      • 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Air Training Command
  • 4th Air Wing, Matsushima Air Base
    • 21st Fighter Training Squadron Reactivated19
Air Development and Test Command
  • Air Development and Test Wing, Gifu Air Base

Accidents and incidentsedit

  • On 31 October 2007, an F-2B crashed during takeoff and subsequently caught fire at Nagoya Airfield in central Japan The jet was being taken up on a test flight by Mitsubishi employees, after major maintenance and before being delivered to the JSDF Both test pilots survived the incident with only minor injuries20 It was eventually determined that improper wiring caused the crash2122
  • As a result of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, 18 F-2Bs belonging to the 21st Fighter Squadron at Matsushima Air Base were damaged or destroyed1923 Of these 18, 5 were deemed beyond repair and have been scrapped The remaining 13 F-2s are being repaired at the estimated cost of ¥80 billion€490 million24 In the meantime, training duties carried out by the 21st Fighter Squadron have been transferred to other air bases

Specifications F-2Aedit

Mitsubishi F-2A Mitsubishi AAM-4 air-to-air missile

Data from Wilson25

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 2 for the F-2B
  • Length: 1552 m 50 ft 11 in
  • Wingspan: 1113 m 36 ft 6 in
  • Height: 496 m 15 ft 5 in
  • Wing area: 3484 m² 375 ft²
  • Empty weight: 9,527 kg 21,000 lb
  • Loaded weight: 14,970 kg 33,000 lb
  • Max takeoff weight: 22,100 kg 48,700 lb
  • Powerplant: 1 × General Electric F110-IHI-129 turbofan
    • Dry thrust: 7562 kN 17,000 lbf
    • Thrust with afterburner: 13123 kN 29,400 lbf


  • Maximum speed: Mach 20 2,124 km/h at altitude
  • Ferry range: 4,000 km 2,486 mi
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 m 59,000 ft
  • Wing loading: 430 kg/m² at weight of 15,000 kg 88 lb/ft²
  • Thrust/weight: 089


  • 20 mm JM61A1 cannon, plus maximum weapon load of 8,085 kg:
  • AAMs:Mitsubishi AAM-3, Mitsubishi AAM-4, Mitsubishi AAM-5, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow
  • air-to-ground weapons include: ASM-1 and ASM-2 anti-ship missiles, various free-fall bombs with GCS-1 IIR seeker heads, JDAM
  • others: J/AAQ-2 FLIR


  • Mitsubishi active electronically scanned array radar system J/APG-2

See alsoedit

  • Aviation portal
  • 4th generation jet fighter
Related development
  • General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo
  • KAI T-50 Golden Eagle
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
  • Chengdu J-10
  • Saab JAS 39 Gripen
Related lists
  • List of fighter aircraft



  1. ^ a b "Lockheed Martin Gets $250M F-2 Contract" 2008 Retrieved 2008-04-09 dead link
  2. ^ a b John Pike "F-2 Support Fighter / FSX" Retrieved 1 February 2016 
  3. ^ John WR Taylor, ed 1988 Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988-89 London: Jane's Information Group ISBN 0 7106 0867 5 
  4. ^ Aoki 1999, p40
  5. ^ a b c d e f "F-2 Attack Fighter, Japan" Airforce-technologycom Retrieved 22 Apr 2012 unreliable source
  6. ^ Breen, Tom 21 October 1996 "Lockheed Martin starts beefing up work force for Japan's F-2" Defense Daily Retrieved 27 May 2015 – via HighBeam Research Subscription required help 
  7. ^ "Lockheed Martin continues work for Japan's F-2 fighter" Defense Daily 23 April 1998 Retrieved 28 May 2015 – via HighBeam Research Subscription required help 
  8. ^ Jiji Press, "Final F-2 fighter delivered to ASDF", Japan Times, 29 September 2011, p 2
  9. ^ "Mitsubishi Heavy Industries end production of F-2 fighter" AirForceWorldcom Retrieved 1 Oct 2011 
  10. ^ Hoyle, Craig 24 October 2014, "Big in Japan: Tokyo’s Top 10 aircraft projects", Flightglobal, Reed Business Information 
  11. ^ "Mitsubishi F-2 Fighter Japan Technology Transfer Agreement" AirForceWorldcom Retrieved 1 July 2011 
  12. ^ Lockheed Martin Press Release April 8, 2008
  13. ^ "Lockheed & Mitsubishi’s F-2 Fighter Partnership" Defenseindustrydailycom Retrieved 22 Apr 2012 
  14. ^ a b Russian fighter jets 'breach Japan airspace', BBC News, 7 Feb 2013 
  15. ^ Japan accuses Russian jets of violating airspace, DAWNCOM, 7 Feb 2013, retrieved 9 Feb 2013 
  16. ^ Japan scrambles fighter jets as Russian warplanes intrude into airspace, Kuwait News Agency KUNA, 7 Feb 2013, retrieved 10 Feb 2013 
  17. ^ Japan says 2 Russian fighters entered its airspace, Yahoo! News, 7 Feb 2013, retrieved 9 Feb 2013 
  18. ^ Japan scrambles jets, accusing Russian bombers of intrusion Reuters, 22 August 2013
  19. ^ a b "About the Flightglobal Group - Blogs Announcement - flightglobalcom" Flightglobalcom Retrieved 1 February 2016 
  20. ^ http://searchjapantimescojp/cgi-bin/nn20071101a2html Japan Times
  21. ^ "そうなのかな" Retrieved 1 February 2016 
  22. ^ "JASDF F-2 Update - General F-16 forum" Retrieved 1 February 2016 
  23. ^ http://wwwasahicom/national/update/0312/TKY201103110818html
  24. ^ http://wwwasahicom/english/TKY201109150442html
  25. ^ Wilson, Stewart Combat Aircraft since 1945 Fyshwick, Australia: Aerospace Publications, 2000 p 106 ISBN 1-875671-50-1


  • Aoki, Yoshimoto "Mitsubishi F-2: 21st Century JASDF fighter-support" World Air Power Journal, Volume 39, Winter 1999 London:Aerospace Publishing ISBN 1-86184-039-X ISSN 0959-7050 pp 38–49
  • https://webarchiveorg/web/20090509093421/http://wwwmodgojp/asdf/english/formation/indexhtml accessed on February 9, 2007
  • http://wwwmodgojp/asdf/equipment/indexhtml accessed on February 9, 2007
  • John WR Taylor, ed 1988 Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988-89 London: Jane's Information Group ISBN 0 7106 0867 5 

External linksedit

  • JASDF Official F-2 webpage in Japanesepermanent dead link
  • F-2 at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
  • F-2 at Lockheed Martin
  • F-2 at Globalsecurityorg

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Mitsubishi F-2

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