Mitsubishi F-2

TypeMultirole fighter
Country of originJapan
United States
ManufacturerMitsubishi Heavy Industries
Lockheed Martin
First flight7 October 1995
Introduced2000
Produced1996
Numbers built94 and 4 prototypes
Unit costs12 billion yen or approx. USD 127 million (in 2009)
Max speedMach 2.0
Max range834 km on anti-ship mission (520 miles)
DimensionsLength: 15.52 m (50 ft 11 in)
Wingspan: 11.13 m (36 ft 6 in)
Height: 4.69 m (15 ft 5 in)
Wing area: 34.84 m² (375 ft²)
WeightEmpty weight: 9,527 kg (21,000 lb)
Loaded weight: 15,000 kg (33,000 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 22,100 kg (48,700 lb)
Powerplant1 × General Electric F110-GE-129 turbofan
Dry thrust: 76 kN (17,000 lbf)
Thrust with afterburner: 120-125 kN (29,500 lbf)
Armament20 mm JM61A1 cannon, plus maximum weapon load of 8,085 kg:
AAMs: AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow, Mitsubishi AAM-3, Mitsubishi AAM-4 (from FY2010)
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
OperatorsJapan

The Mitsubishi F-2 is a multirole jet fighter constructed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) as the primary contractor and Lockheed Martin as the subcontractor for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The manufacturing was split 60/40 between Japan and the USA. The Mitsubishi F-2 was initially categorized as a Support Fighter but later in the fiscal year of 2005, the Japan Ministry of Defense converted the category to Fighter.

Initial production commenced in 1996 and the first aircraft joined the JASDF in 2000. In 2008, there were 76 aircrafts entered service with a total of 94 airframes under contract.

The Development of Mitsubishi F-2

The JASDF needed a new fighter aircraft to replace the aging Mitsubishi F-1 and in the late of 1987, Japan, under the FS-X program, picked out the F-16 Fighting Falcon design as the basis of the required new fighter. An agreement to co-construct the intended new fighter between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and General Dynamics was made. The programme involved technology transfer from the USA to Japan, and responsibility for cost sharing was split 60% by Japan and 40% by USA.

Later in 1993 the General Dynamics sold its aircraft division to Lockheed Martin. Nevertheless, the cooperation continued resulting in the born of the Mitsubishi F-2 which had a maiden flight in 7 October 1995. Also in that year, the Japanese government favored an order for 141, to enter service by 1999. The schedule was delayed due to structural problems until 2000 and the order was cut to 130 units then decreased once more to 98 units in 2004.

The Design of the Mitsubishi F-2

The basic design of the Mitsubishi F-2 was the concept of the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The notable difference is in its wing area in which the Mitsubishi F-2 uses 25% larger wings. The Mitsubishi F-2 was originally built to encounter the emerging threat of Russian Su 27 Flanker and MiG-29 Fulcrum.

Along with MHI and Lockheed Martin, some other companies also contributed in the development of the Mitsubishi F-2, they are General Electric, Hazeltine, Honeywell, Kawasaki, Kokusai Electric, NEC, Raytheon and Yokogawa.

The Mitsubishi F-2 uses fly-by-wire system which developed by Japan Aviation Electric and Honeywell. Kawasaki is responsible to build the midsection of the fuselage while Mitsubishi constructs the forward section of the fuselage and the wings. Lockheed Martin develops the rear section of the fuselage, the port-side wing boxes and the leading-edge flaps and supplies, stores management system, and avionics.

Raytheon, NEC, Hazeltine, and Kokusai Electric are responsible for building communication systems and IFF interrogators. Yokogawa supplies three display screens.

The Mitsubishi F-2 uses General Electric F110-GE-129 turbofan to power it up and reaching the maximum speed of Mach 2.0.

In addition to larger wing area, some differences in the F-2 from the F-16A are composite materials which reduce overall weight and radar signature, longer and wider nose to accommodate a phased-array radar, larger tailplane and air intake and three-piece cockpit canopy.

The Mitsubishi F-2 can carry four ASM-1 or ASM-2 anti-ship missiles, four AAMs, and additional fuel tanks.

With its capabilities and applied technology, the Mitsubishi F-2 is comparable to McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum, Chengdu J-10, CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder and HAL Tejas.

The variants of the Mitsubishi

  • XF-2A: A prototype of single-seat version
  • XF-2B: A prototype of two-seat version
  • F-2A: Single-seat fighter version.
  • F-2B: Two-seat training version.

Mitsubishi F-2 videos

The Fighters – Mitsubishi F-2

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