Mitsubishi F-2 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Mitsubishi F-2 is a Strike fighter manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Lockheed Martin for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, with a 60/40 split in manufacturing between Japan and the USA
. Production started in 1996 and the first aircraft entered service in 2000. By 2008, the first 76 aircraft are expected to be in service, with a total of 94 airframes under contract.
In FY2005, Ministry of Defense changed the category from Support Fighter to Fighter.
Work started in 1980s under the FS-X program, 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 and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries co-developed and co-produce the aircraft
, the company is a major subcontractor to Mitsubishi, some of the early developmental work was actually under General Dynamics, who sold its aircraft division to LM in 1993. It is essentially an execution of the F-16 Agile Falcon proposal: a late-1980s plan for an enlarged F-16 which was passed over by the U.S. in favor of an all-new fighter program (Joint Strike Fighter). The F-2 used the wing design of the F-16 Agile Falcon, but much of the electronics were further updated to 1990s standards
. The overall concept of the enlarged F-16 by General Dynamics was intended as a cheap counter to the then emerging threat of Su-27/MiG-29.
In October 1987, Japan selected the F-16 as the basis of its new secondary fighter， to replace the aging Mitsubishi F-1 and supplement its main air superiority fighter, the F-15J as well as the F-4EJ. Also during the 1980s, General Dynamics (who developed the F-16) had proposed its F-16 Agile Falcon to the USAF. While the US would pass over the design concept in favor of all-new types (F-22/JSF) and upgrades to its existing fleet, the enlarged F-16 would find a home in Japan.
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 per unit, not including reduced cost from mass production. As of 2008, 94 aircraft were planned. 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 Japanese may eventually make up to 94, at a cost of roughly US$ 110 million each in 2004 dollars. Much of the F-16 technology used in the F-2 was the subject of some political debate in the U.S. and Japan in the early 1990s. The technology transfers were authorized however, and the project proceeded
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 in 2004.
On 31 October 2007, a F-2B fighter jet crashed
and exploded in flames during takeoff at Nagoya Airfield in central Japan. The jet was being taken up on a test flight
before being delivered to the Japanese Air Force. Both test pilots survived the incident with only minor injuries.
The F-2 has three display screens, including a liquid crystal display from Yokogawa.
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 phased-array radar
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 Netherlands, Norway, Greece, Turkey, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Venezuela.
Crew: 1 (or 2 for the F-2B)
Length: 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)
Empty weight: 9,527 kg (21,000 lb)
Loaded weight: 15,000 kg (33,000 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 22,100 kg (48,700 lb)
Powerplant: 1× General Electric F110-GE-129 turbofan
Dry thrust: 76 kN (17,000 lbf)
Thrust with afterburner: 120-125 kN (29,500 lbf)
Maximum speed: Mach 2.0
Range: 834 km on anti-ship mission (520 miles)
Service ceiling: 18,000 m (59,000 ft)
Wing loading: 430 kg/m² at weight of 15,000 kg (88 lb/ft²)
20 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