Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA2721 Japan F-2A "8th Sqn. 60th Anniversary" 13-8558, 8th SQ, JASDF, Tsuiki AB, 2020

During the 1980s the U.S. military wasn’t interested in an updated version of the F-16 so they passed on the opportunity. Japan was replacing some of their aging fleet and decided to develop the new F-16 Agile Falcon in cooperation with Mitsubishi and Lockheed Martin. Production began in 1996 with the first aircraft being delivered in 2000. The new aircraft was named the F-2 and soon earned the nickname “Viper Zero”. Although the F-2 looks similar to the original F-16 it is larger in almost every aspect.

In June 2010 Mitsubishi F-2A 03-8557 c/n M1057 was delivered to the JASDF. In March 2011 it was re-registered as 13-8557. On October 5, 2014 13-8557 transferred to the 8th Wing/8th TFS based at Tsuiki AB since mid 2016. The 8th Wing’s 6th and 8th TFS’s make up the JASDF Western Air Defense Force. Prior to acquiring the F-2 the 8th TFS flew the F-4E Phantom II. In 2020 the 8th celebrated its 60th Anniversary and 13-8557 was given a special paint scheme with a predominant Panther face and claw marks.

Specifications Mitsubishi F-2A & F-2B
Nickname - Viper Zero
Designation
F-2A - Single-seat Multi-role fighter
F-2B - Two-seat training version, fully combat capable
Performance
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)
Dimensions
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)
Weights
Empty - 21,000 lb (9,527 kg)
Loaded - 33,000 lb (15,000 kg)
Max takeoff - 48,700 lb (22,100 kg)
Armament
(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 the fuselage.
Possible Weapons
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
Avionics
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 signature.
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.