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Mitsubishi F-2

Japan (2000)
Picture of Mitsubishi F-2 Multirole Fighter / Maritime Strike
Picture of Mitsubishi F-2 Multirole Fighter / Maritime Strike Picture of Mitsubishi F-2 Multirole Fighter / Maritime Strike
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The Japan Air Self-Defense Force maintains a capable multi-role performer in the F-16-inspired Mitsubishi F-2.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Mitsubishi F-2 Multirole Fighter / Maritime Strike.  Entry last updated on 6/13/2017. 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.


Picture of the Mitsubishi F-2 Multirole Fighter / Maritime Strike
Picture of the Mitsubishi F-2 Multirole Fighter / Maritime Strike


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 21,000lb with a maximum take-off weight of 48,500lb. The GE F110-GE-129 engine produces 17,000lb of dry thrust and 29,500lb 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.

Standard armament of the F-2 includes an internal 20mm JM61A1 cannon for close-in combat. Optional armament is all externally held across five hardpoints (one underfuselage and four underwing) with ordnance totaling 17,830lbs. The armament suite includes a mix of air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry. As in the American F-16C, the F-2's wingtips are reserved for AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles (or the local Mitsubishi AAM-3 missile). Other air-to-air options include the American AIM-7 Sparrow or local Mitsubishi AAM-4 missile. For ground attack and maritime strike, the F-2 is cleared to carry ASM-1 and ASM-2 anti-ship missiles, anti-radiation missiles, precision-guided munitions, and conventional drop ordnance. The fuselage and inboard underwing hardpoints are further plumbed for external fuel tanks which improve operational ranges of the fleet.

Originally, the Japanese government commissioned for 140 aircraft to emerge from the FS-X program. However, budgetary constraints soon limited this to less than 100 and this has since become 94 production-quality airframes along with the four early prototypes. The aircraft then saw extensive delays with tail assemblies manufactured by Lockheed Martin and developmental problems arising with the new composite wings. This led to the series not formally fielded until 2000 (1999 was the target year) by which time they were quick to replace the outgoing F-1s in the Japanese inventory. Production spanned from 1995 into 2011 and has since completed. Early-batch examples cost the Japanese Defence Agency $100 million per unit which proved problematic in Japanese politics of the period. Indeed, it would have been cheaper to purchase existing F-16 airframes instead.

In all, four distinct production marks have appeared. Two were XF-2A single-seat prototypes followed by a pair of XF-2B two-seat prototypes. The F-2A became the standard single-seat fighter which is supplemented by the F-2B two-seat trainer featuring twin cockpits and dual-control functionality.

F-2s current serve with Air Defense Command, Air Training Command and Air Development and Test Command. Eighteen F-2s were damaged during the 2011 tsunami.

The Mitsubishi F-2 is roughly comparable to the Chengdu J-10 "Vigorous Dragon" which would become its primary adversary in an all out confrontation with China.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 1600mph
Lo: 800mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (1,553mph).

    Graph average of 1200 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Mitsubishi F-2's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
98
98


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Japan
Service Year: 2000
Classification Type: Multirole Fighter / Maritime Strike
Manufacturer(s): Mitsubishi - Japan / Lockheed - USA
Production Units: 98
Global Operators:
Japan
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Mitsubishi F-2 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
50.92 ft


Meters
15.52 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
36.52 ft


Meters
11.13 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
16.27 ft


Meters
4.96 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
20,944 lb


Kilograms
9,500 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
48,722 lb


Kilograms
22,100 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x General Electric F110-GE-129 turbofan engine with afterburn generating 29,600lbs of thrust.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
1,553 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
2,500 kph


Knots
1,350 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
519 mi


Kilometers
835 km


Nautical Miles
451 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
59,055 ft


Meters
18,000 m


Miles
11.18 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
48,000 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
14,630 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (5 (including wingtip mounts)):

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
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Variants: Series Model Variants
• 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.