TYPE: Attack fighter.

PROGRAMME: Ingigenous design, plus proposals based on F-15, F-16, F/A-18 and Tornado ADV, were originally considered; modified F-16C selected as Japan's FS-X replacement for Mitsubishi F-1 on 21 October 1987; Mitsubishi appointed prime contractor November 1988; initial contracts awarded for airframe design March 1989 and prototype active phased-array radar February 1990; General Electric F110-GE-129 Improved Performance Engine selected 21 December 1990. Programme delayed by questions of development sharing with General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company(LMAC)) and technology transfer to Japan, but agreed at Japan 60 per cent and USA 40 per cent cost sharing (confirmed July 1996); first subcontract to GD let February 1990 for design and development of rear fuselage, wing, leading-edge flaps, avionics and computer-based test equipment. Active phased-array radar, EW (ECM/ESM), mission computer and inertial reference system being developed using Japanese domestic technology.
Japan totally responsible for programme, including all funding; Japanese airframe subcontractors include Kawasaki and Fuji (see Structure). Programme involves four flying prototypes (two single-seat XF-2A first, then two tandem two-seat XF-2B) and two for static and fatigue test; construction began early 1994, final assembly mid-1999; first prototype (single-seat 63-0001) rolled out 12 January 1995; first flight 7 October 1995, followed by second prototype (63-0002) on 13 December 1995; third prototype (63-0003) flew on 18 April 1996 and fourth (63-0004; first in blue and grey colour scheme) on 24 May 1996. Japanese Cabinet approved 130-aircraft programme and allocated F-2 designation on 15 December 1995. Static test airframe (No. '991') under loading trials by 1995.
First XF-2A handed over to JDA on 22 March 1996, followed by '02 on 26 April 1997 and the two XF-2Bs on 9 August and 20 September 1997; prototypes re-serialled 63-8501/02/03/04 on 1 December 1997. Congressional approval of US participation in September 1996 followed in October by $US75 million Mitsubishi initial production contract to Lockheed Martin. First Lockheed Martin rear fuselage accepted by Mitsubishi in November 1998; first licence-built engines delivered by IHI in early 1999. Discovery in May 1998 of wing cracks, and evidence, when flying with two ASM-2 anti-ship missiles, of severe flutter, necessitated modifications to wingtips and pylon attachments, resulting in nine-month slippage of March 1999 scheduled completion date. Flight and static/fatigue testing rescheduled for completion in December 1999 and deliveries for FY99 (three) and FY00 (eight), but further wing crack problems revealed in mid-1999, causing completion of development testing to be extended to 30 June 2000 and first deliveries rescheduled to third quarter 2000. First production F-2A made maiden flight 12 October 1999 and delivered to JASDF on 25 September 2000. Total 0f 28 production F-2As and F-2Bs delivered by 31 March 2002; 36 by 31 March 2003.
Development of dedicated air superiority version is under consideration replace the F-4EJKai.

CURRENT VERSIONS: F-2A: Single-seat support fighter.
Description applies to F-2A except where indicated .
F-2B: Combat-capable two-seater.

CUSTOMERS: Total of 65 production aircraft ordered by March 2003. JASDF (sole user) originally stated requirement for approximately 72 F-2As to replace F-1s in three support fighter squadrons, plus approximately 50 F-2Bs for OCU and possibly to replace T-2/2A. Current plans are to acquire 130 single/two-seaters (83 + 47, reduced from earlier figure of 141 by cancellation of 11 two-seaters).
First recipient originally due to begin conversion in FY99 and to be completely equipped by FY00; however, first delivery (03-8503) not made until 25 September 2000 (formal acceptance 3 October). Six F-2As and eight F-2Bs delivered by year-end; one F-2A temporarily to No. 1 Technical School at Hamamatsu and seven to Rinji F-2 Hikotai (temporary F-2 Squadron) at Misawa, which became 3 Squadron of 3 Wing at same base on 27 March 2001. Remainder of first 45 aircraft will be allocated to Matsushima OCU (19 Bs). In 2006, 6 Squadron of 8 Wing at Tsuiki will convert from F-1; followed in 2007 by 8 Squadron/3 Wing at Misawa (which, pending F-2S, has converted from F-1 to F-4EJKai Phantom).

COSTS: Total JDA expenditure (1988 to 1995) US$3.27 billion, including ¥75.7 billion (US$575 million) in FY92 to include first prototype and radar development; further ¥96.5 billion (US$804 million) in FY94 provided for three more flying prototypes and two for ground test. First two Mitsubishi contracts to GD totalled US$280.5 million; follow-on contract to Lockheed (5 February 1993) valued at US$74.2 million. FY96 batch of 11 cost US$1,081.58 million (US$98.32 million per unit); FY97 batch of eight cost US$797.47 million (US$99.68 million per unit); FY00 aircraft cost ¥11.8 billion each.

DESIGN FEATURES: Configuration based on Lockheed Martin F-16. New co-cured composites wing of Japanese design, with greater span, root chord and 25 per cent more area than that of F-16; tapered trailing-edge; slightly longer radome and forward fuselage to house new radar and other mission avionics; longer mid-fuselage and shorter jetpipes; increased-span tailplane; addition of brake-chute; adoption of increased performance engine.
Wing leading-edge sweepback 33° 12'; incidence 0°. Tailplane anhedral 8°.

FLYING CONTROLS: Full-span leading-edge flaps and trailing-edge flaperons; all-moving tailplane; rudder; twin, fixed ventral fins, canted outward 15°. Initially planned vertical canards deleted; CCV functions achieved instead by triple-redundant digital fly-by-wire system, developed jointly by Japan Aviation Electronics and Honeywell. Based on earlier Mitsubishi work with T-2 CCV testbed. Available modes include control augmentation, relaxed static stability, manoeuvre load control, decoupled yaw and manoeuvre enhancement. Single analogue back-up flight control system for roll and yaw control.

STRUCTURE: Composites structure wing (except leading-edge flaps), horizontal tail, fin (except leading-edge and base), rudder and landing gear doors; other structures also use advanced materials and structure technology, including Mitsubishi Rayon radar-absorbent material on nose, wing, leading-edges and engine intakes; titanium in rear fuselge and tail unit.
Mitsubishi builds forward fuselage and wings; other Japanese airframe companies involved include Fuji (upper wing skins, wing fairings, radome, flaperons, engine air intakes and tail unit) and Kawasaki (fuselage mid-section, mainwheel doors and engine access doors). Lockheed Martin providing rear fuselage, 80 per cent of all port-side wing boxes, all leading-edge flaps, avionics systems, stores management systems and some test equipment; first LM production rear fuselage accepted 10 November 1998; first wing box delivered March 1999.

LANDING GEAR: Retractable tricycle type, with single wheel on each unit; mainwheels retract inward, nosewheel rearward. Mainwheel tyres size 27.75x8.75R145, pressure 22.06 bar (320 lb/sq in); nosewheel tyre size 18x5.7-8, pressure 20.69 bar (300 lb/sq in). Brake-chute in fairing at base of rudder.

POWER PLANT: One General Electric F110-GE-129 turbofan (131.2 kN; 29,500 lb st with afterburning), licence-built by IHI for production aircraft. Maximum inertial fuel capacity 4,637 litres (1,225 US gallons; 1,020 Imp gallons), of which 4,558 litres (1,121 US gallons; 1,009 Imp gallons) are usable; reduced to 3,948 litres (1,043 US gallons; 868,5 Imp gallons), of which 3,903 litres (1,031 US gallons; 858,5 Imp gallons) usable, in F-2B. Maximum external fuel capacity (both) 5,678 litres (1,500 US gallons; 1,249 Imp gallons) (one 1,135.5 litre; 300 US gallon; 249,8 Imp gallon and two 2,271.25 litre; 600 US gallon; 499,6 Imp gallon tanks). No provision for in-flight refuelling.

SYSTEMS: Include onboard oxygen generation system (OBOGS).

AVIONICS: Comms: Magnavox AN/ARC-164 UHF transceiver, NEC V/UHF transceiver; Hazeltine AIFF; Kokusai Electric HF radio.
Radar: Mitsubishi Electric active phased-array radar.
Flight: Japan Aviation Electronics/Honeywell digital AFCS and laser IRS.
Instrumentation: Yokogawa 127 x 127 mm (5 x 5 in) colour LCD multifunction display and two 102 x 102 mm (4 x 4 in) liquid crystal colour MFDs; Shimadzu holographic wide-angle HUD.
Mission: Mitsubishi Electric mission computer. Sanders MPS III mission planning system.
Self-defence: Mitsubishi Electric integrated EW system.

ARMAMENT: One initial M61A1 Vulcan 20 mm multibarrel gun in port wingroot, plus 13 external stores stations: Sta 6 on centreline; Sta 1 (port) and 11 at each wingtip; and five under each wing (Sta 2, 3, 4L, 4, 5, 6, 8, 8R, 9 and 10); Flight Refuelling common rail launchers, built and installed by Nippi, configured initially for AIM-7F/M Sparrow medium-range air-to-air missiles (Sta 2 and 10); other armament expected to include AIM-9L or Mitsubishi AAM-3 air-to-air missiles (Sta 1, 2, 10 and 11) and ASM-1 and ASM-2 anti-shipping missiles (Sta 3, 4, 8 and 9); 500 lb bombs (Sta 4L and 8R); 340 kg bombs (Sta 4 and 8); CBU-87/B cluster bombs (Sta 4 and 8); and JLAU-3/A or RL-4 rocket launchers (Sta 4 and 8). Centreline and inboard underwing stations (5, 6 and 7) wet for carriage of drop tanks.