|During the 1980s General Dynamics, the developer of the F-16, proposed another
version of the F-16 called the F-16 Agile Falcon. The US military opted not to get
involved because they were busy upgrading their present fleet as well as developing
the new F-22/JSF. Japan had decided to purchase the F-16 to replace its aging F-1
aircraft but then decided to develop the F-16 Agile Falcon concept. The new aircraft for
the JASDF (Japan Air Self Defense Force) would be the F-2 and manufactured with a
60/40 split between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin
bought General Dynamics in 1993. Production started in 1996 with the first aircraft being
delivered in 2000. 94 of the F-2 aircraft are scheduled to be manufactured. It might look
like an F-16 but the Mitsubishi F-2 is a completely new fighter. The general shape may
say F-16 and a few things that the F-2 and the F-16 have common are the engine,
landing gear, air intake door and the 20 mm gun. But the F-2 has a longer and wider
nose to accommodate phased-array radar with 25% larger wing. It is made from a
composite material to reduce weight and radar signature, a larger tail plane and larger
air intake. The pilot canopy is a stronger three-piece construction. The F-2 is equipped
with a drogue chute just like the NATO version of the F-16. The single seat fighter is the
F-2A while the two seat version (F-2B) is a trainer that is fully combat capable.
On March 11, 2011 a magnitude 9 earthquake rocked Northeastern Japan and created
a gigantic tsunami (tidal wave) that devastated the entire area. As the water rushed over
land it found its way onto the Matsushima AB destroying or damaging 18 F-2 jets. It
wasn’t until March 2016 when the base was restored that F-2B 33-8116 wearing a
special paint scheme made a commemorative flight at Matsushima to mark the return of
the 21st Squadron. F-2B 33-8116 was the third F-2 to be restored after the tsunami.
Specifications Mitsubishi F-2A & F-2B
Nickname - Viper Zero
F-2A - Single-seat Multi-role fighter
F-2B - Two-seat training version, fully combat capable
Powerplant: (1) General Electric F110-GE-129 turbofan
Dry thrust - 76 kN (17,000 lbf)
Thrust with afterburner - 131 kN (29,500 lbf)
Maximum speed - Mach 2.0
Range - 520 miles (834 km) on anti-ship mission
Service ceiling - 59,000 ft (18,000 m)
Length - 50 ft 11 in (15.52 m)
Wingspan - 36 ft 6 in (11.13 m)
Height - 15 ft 5 in (4.69 m)
Wing area - 375 ft² (34.84 m²)
Empty - 21,000 lb (9,527 kg)
Loaded - 33,000 lb (15,000 kg)
Max takeoff - 48,700 lb (22,100 kg)
(1) 20 mm JM61A1 cannon
Capable of carrying up to 17,820 lb (8,085 kg) weapon load on 11 hard points. They
are located - #1 and #11 at the wing tips, #2-5 and #7-10 under the wings, and #6 under
Air-to-air - AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow, Mitsubishi AAM-3, Mitsubishi AAM-4
Air-to-ground - ASM-1 and ASM-2 anti-ship missiles.
Various free-fall bombs with GCS-1 IIR seeker heads, Mk 82 and JM177 bombs
CBU-87, JDAM and JLAU-3/A or RL-4 rocket pods.
Others - J/AAQ-2 FLIR
Mitsubishi Active Electronically Scanned Array radar system including J/APG-1.
Some differences between the F-2 and the F-16
F-2 has a 25% larger wing area.
F-2 is manufactured using composite materials to reduce overall weight and radar
F-2 is longer and wider nose to accommodate phased-array radar.
F-2 has a larger tail-plane.
F-2 has a larger air intake.
F-2 has a three-piece cockpit canopy.
F-2 is equipped with a drogue parachute.
|Hobby Master 1/72 Air Power Series
Japan F-2B "Return to Matsushima AB"
33-8116, 4th AW, 21st SQ , JASDF, March 2016
|HOBBY MASTER COLLECTOR