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Mitsubishi F-1 Photo Album - Mitsubishi F-1

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Mitsubishi F-1

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The Mitsubishi F-1 was the first jet fighter fully developed in Japan after World War II. This jet was due to the joint effort of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries.

In the mid-1960s, the Japan Air Force of Self-Defense began to study the possibility of having a supersonic two-seat jet for instruction and training that could become a version of attacking targets on the ground.

Initially, it was thought that the most practical option to fulfill this task would be the manufacture under license of an already operational model, such as the North American Northrop T-38 or even the Franco-British SEPECAT Jaguar, still in operation. development phase. However, after the failure to negotiate the production of this aircraft, Japan decided to invest in its own model. Mitsubishi, Fuji and Kawasaki competed for the contest, with the first choice falling, in September 1967. The winning proposal was conceived by the team of designers led by Kenji Ikeda. The contract also included Fuji as the main subcontracted firm. The inaugural flight of the XT-2 prototype took place on July 20, 1971. In the end, 90 series units were produced under the designation Mitsubishi T-2. Among these, 28 were not armed and the remaining 62 were equipped with a 20 mm JMIAI cannon.

The excessively high costs of the T-2 program almost ended with the planned development of the single-seater attack version, but, with any luck, the cancellation of another program for a new maritime patrol plane provided the necessary credits and thus , in 1973, the contract for its development was formalized.

The second and third prototypes of the T-2 (FS-T2-Kai) were modified to adopt a single-seat configuration. The first of these prototypes began test flights on June 3, 1975. The Gifu Air Force's Self-Defense Force testing division, based on Gifu, drew up an evolution flight program that lasted for a year, and thus which ended, the so-called Mitsubishi F-1 was considered to be operational and its series production began, with the first device manufactured to take off on June 16, 1977. The new device had lines and dimensions similar to those of its predecessor of two seats, but the rear space of the cabin was covered with an access fairing, also leaving space for an avionics compartment equipped with a Mitsubishi Electric J/ASQ-1 flight control system, an offensive cargo orderer INS Ferranti's 6TNJ-F, a radar warning system and a guidance subsystem, whose sensors were located on the upper part of the drift. The F-1 maintained the Lear Siegler 50110BL heading and altitude system. of the T-2, and in addition, it incorporated a camera system. Finally, from 1982, a new Mitsubishi J7AWG-12 radar equipment was introduced, compatible with the most modern weaponry, replacing the J/AWG-11 telemetry and search radar

The cell was reinforced and additional supports were installed under the wings, increasing its number to a total of seven (with two placed at the ends of the wings). Both the fuselage support and the two interiors of the planes could carry additional fuel tanks. Its armament was essentially composed of two anti-ship missiles of Jongo range ASM-1 and ASM-2, comparable in their potential to the North American AGM-84 Harpoon or 30 AM 39 French Exocet. In addition, the F-1 could carry a wide variety of offensive cargo, combining rocket pods with bombs of various types, both conventional and infrared-guided. The short-range AIM-Sidewinder air/air missile, carried on the rails of the outer sub-wing ends, gave the F-1 the ability to perform its secondary air defense function.

The total production of the F-1, initially fixed at 160 planes, remained at 77 aircraft due to budget cuts. They were all handed over to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, until March 1987. The FI began its activity in April 1978, replacing the veteran F-86 Saber in the 2nd Hikotai (squadron) of 3. Kokudan (wing), with based in Misawa and, later, in other units like the. Hikotai from the same wing, co 6. Hikotai from 8. Kokudan based in Tsuiki, Fukoka Prefecture.

Over the years, the F-1 has been gradually replaced by the more modern F2 (a model shared between Japan and the United States, based on the F-16C/D), and also by the F-4EJ Kai Phantom II. The two models still in service are expected to be replaced by the F-2s in the coming years.


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