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  • Mitsubishi F-2 Multirole Fighter / Maritime Strike


    The Japan Air Self-Defense Force maintains a capable multi-role performer in the F-16-inspired Mitsubishi F-2.

     Updated: 7/2/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com


    The Mitsubishi F-2 fighter was initially intended as a wholly indigenous Japanese multirole fighter design to replace the aging fleet of Mitsubishi F-1s. With design work already underway during the 1980s under the FS-X program designation, the United States government moved in with enough political and economic pressure to force Japan into abandoning its local fighter plans in favor of continued support for American-originated military equipment. The Japan indigenous initiative, therefore, ended in 1987 and the program focused on procurement of the Lockheed F-16C "Fighting Falcon" multirole platform (Block 40). The aircraft would be modified to suit Japanese military requirements headed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries with Lockheed remaining the primary US contributor. General Electric would provide the necessary turbofan engines. The program produced four modified F-16Cs in the early going and these served as prototypes. First flight was recorded on October 7th, 1995 while, in December, the aircraft was formally designated "F-2". Adopted in 2000, the F-2 continues to serve the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) in the air defense, ground attack and maritime strike roles. With ongoing disputes against China and general volatility in the region, the F-2 plays an increasingly important role in Japanese air operations for the island nation (January 2014).

    Despite its obvious appearance to the America fighter, the Mitsubishi F-2 incorporates enough new features and local technology to consider it a highly modified Japanese variant of the F-16. The F-2, at its core, is a single-seat, single-engine mount powered by the successful General Electric GE F100-series turbofan with reheat (afterburner). The fuselage, though mimicking the American F-16C in general contour and shape, has evolved to become some 25% larger than the original with more advanced composites introduced to its construction. The fuselage has been lengthened and a three-piece framed cockpit selected over the large -area glass version on the F-16. The tail unit has been given an increase in surface area while the intake is of a larger dimension. Due to restrictions imposed by the American State Department on export of fly-by-wire control software, Japanese engineers have developed a local solution. The nose assembly, too, houses a Mitsubishi-brand Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar while the cockpit retains Head-Up Display (HUD), color Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) and Hands-on-Throttle-and-Stick (HOTAS) control arrangement.

    The F-2 exhibits a length of 51 feet with a wingspan of 36.5 feet and height of 15.5 feet. Empty weight is listed at 21,000lbs with a maximum take-off weight of 48,500lbs. The GE F110-GE-129 engine produces 17,000lbs of dry thrust and 29,500lbs of thrust with afterburner engaged. Performance values include a maximum speed of Mach 2, a range of 520 miles and service ceiling of 59,000 feet. A drogue parachute assists in providing short airfield landings.


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    Mitsubishi F-2 Technical Specifications


    Service Year: 2000
    Type: Multirole Fighter / Maritime Strike
    National Origin: Japan
    Manufacturer(s): Mitsubishi - Japan / Lockheed - USA
    Production Total: 98



    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)


    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 50.92 feet (15.52 meters)
    Width: 36.52 feet (11.13 meters)
    Height: 16.27 feet (4.96 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 20,944 lb (9,500 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 48,722 lb (22,100 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance


    Engine(s): 1 x General Electric F110-GE-129 turbofan engine with afterburn generating 29,600lbs of thrust.

    Maximum Speed: 1,553 mph (2,500 kph; 1,350 knots)
    Maximum Range: 519 miles (835 km)
    Service Ceiling: 59,055 feet (18,000 meters; 11.18 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 48,000 feet-per-minute (14,630 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    STANDARD:
    1 x 20mm internal cannon

    OPTIONAL:
    Mission-Specific Ordnance Includes:

    2 x AIM-7 Sparrow AAMs
    2 x AIM-9 Sidewinder/Mitsubishi AAM-3 AAMs
    Various bomb and rocket loadouts as well

    Global Operators / Customers


    Japan

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)


    FS-X - "Support Fighter" Program designation of which four prototypes were produced based on the existing Lockheed F-16C design.

    TFS-X - Proposed Two-Seat Conversion Trainer Model Designation.

    XF-2A - Single-seat prototype models

    XF-2B - Two-seat prototype models

    F-2 - Base Series Designation

    F-2A - Single-Seat Multirole Fighter Model

    F-2B - Two-Seat Conversion Trainer with tandem cockpits and dual-controls.