December 24, 2013 (by Lieven Dewitte) - In cooperation with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Lockheed Martin has delivered the first F-2 aft and leading edge flaps as part of a restoration plan to replenish Japan's F-2 fleet. Eighteen Japanese F-2B fighter aircraft based at Matsushima Air Base were destroyed during a tsunami that hit the nation in March 2011.
JASDF F-2B (03-8104) from the Air Development and Test Squadron seen on landing approach at Gifu AB in November of 2006. [Photo by Andy Binks]
program is a joint Japan/U.S. development, production, and sustainment program. MHI is the prime contractor and Lockheed Martin is the principal U.S. subcontractor. Production began in 1996, with the first delivery in 2000.
Based on the design of the Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcon, the F-2 was designed to meet the unique requirements of the JASDF. Although capable of both air-to-air and air-to-surface roles, the F-2 emphasizes the air-to-surface role because its primary mission is protection of Japan’s sea lanes.
The F-2 has a wing area that is enlarged approximately 25 percent over the F-16 wing area. The larger wing allows more internal fuel storage and two more weapon store stations than the F-16. Japan elected to fabricate the wing substructure using graphite epoxy and by applying state-of-the-art co-cured composite technology to maximize the strength while minimizing the weight. In addition to the larger wing area, the F-2 fuselage is approximately 17 inches longer than that of the F-16. The horizontal tails are also larger.
Lockheed did not disclose how many aft and leading edge flaps it is producing for the fleet restoration plan.