Mitsubishi F-1

The Mitsubishi F-1 is first domestically developed Japanese jet fighter, and was the first fighter to enter production in Japan since the end of World War II. The F-1 evolved from the earlier Mitsubishi T-2 supersonic jet trainer; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries jointly developed the F-1. At first glance, it resembles the Anglo-French SEPECAT Jaguar, but was a completely independent Japanese effort. The F-1 has slowly been replaced over the years by the newer Mitsubishi F-2, as well as upgraded F-4EJ Kai.

Mitsubishi F-1
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1975
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1978 2008 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation 77 View

In the mid 1960s, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) commenced studies into an advanced jet trainer which could also be modified to serve in the ground attack and anti-shipping roles. After considering license production of the T-38 Talon and SEPECAT Jaguar, Japan decided to develop its own trainer, the supersonic Mitsubishi T-2, this first flying on 20 July 1971. Cost over-runs in the T-2 program led to the proposed single seat attack version almost being abandoned, but the cancellation of the Kawasaki P-XL, the planned replacement for Japan's Kawasaki P-2J maritime patrol aircraft freed-up funds, while making it important to keep Japan's aviation industry employed, and contracts were awarded for the development of the attack version as the FS-T2kai in 1973.

The new aircraft was a minimum change derivative of the T-2, with the rear cockpit being converted to an avionics bay by removing the rear seat, and replacing the canopy with a simple unglazed access hatch. Two additional hardpoints were fitted under the wing to allow carriage of a heavier weapon load, and the avionics were improved, with a new J/AWG-12 radar set, similar to that fitted in British Royal Air Force F-4M Phantom fighter jets. This set provides ranging information. Aside from the avionics changes, deletion of the rear seat, and new one-piece canopy, the only other major change from the T-2 was the strengthening of the airframe to enable it to carry a larger weapons load than the T-2. The F-1 is fitted with an internally mounted 20 mm JM61A1 Vulcan cannon with 750 rounds of ammunition. The aircraft also has seven external hardpoints for the carriage of a wide variety of stores. The fuselage hardpoint and inboard pair of underwing hardpoints are "wet", which means they can be used to carry external fuel tanks to increase the aircraft's range. The primary weapon of the F-1 is the ASM-1 and the newer ASM-2 long-range anti-ship missile. This weapon is roughly in the class of the American AGM-84 Harpoon or French AM.39 Exocet. Other weapons carried include the all-aspect short-range heat-seeking AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile for air-to-air combat. This weapon is carried on the wingtip rails usually, but it can also be carried on the outboard underwing hardpoints for the F-1's secondary air defense role. Other air-to-ground weapons carried include rocket pods (JLAU-3/A) of 70 mm (2.75 in) size as well as bombs of 227 kg (500 lb) and 340 kg (750 lb) in size (Mk82 and M117 respectively). In addition, the Mk-82 and M117 bombs can be fitted with infrared guidance kits, turning them into precision-guided weapons that home in on heat radiation emitted from seaborne targets such as ships or other ground-based targets. When fitted with this kit, the bomb becomes known as GCS-1.

The F-1 was replaced by the F-2 (Japan/U.S. developed, based on F-16C/D), as well as upgraded F-4EJ "Kai" Phantom IIs. The last six active F-1s, based at Tsuiki in Fukuoka Prefecture, were retired on 9 March 2006, having reached the 4,000 hour limit of their airframes.

Role close air support, ground-attackand anti-ship jet aircraft.
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Fuji Heavy Industries
First flight 3 June 1975
Introduction April 1978
Retired March 2006
Status Retired
Primary user Japan Air Self Defense Force
Produced 1975-1987
Number built 77
Developed from Mitsubishi T-2

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 17.66 m (57 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 7.88 m (25 ft 10 in)
  • Height: 4.39 m (14 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 21.2 m (228 ft)
  • Empty weight: 6,358 kg (14,017 lb)
  • Loaded weight: kg (lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 13,674 kg (30,146 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Ishikawa-Harima TF40-801A turbofan, 32.4 kN (7,280 lbf) each


  • Maximum speed: 1,700 km/h (1,060 mph)
  • Range: 1,130 km (705 mi)
  • Service ceiling 15,250 m (50,020 ft)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.48


  • 1 x 20 mm JM61A1 Vulcan
  • Various bombs, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles and rocket pods on four underwing, two wingtip, and one underfuselage pylon. Weapons carried include AIM-9 Sidewinder, Mitsubishi AAM-1, Mitsubishi ASM-1/2 anti-ship missiles, JLAU-3A 70 mm rocket pods, RL-7 70 mm rockets, RL-4 125 mm rockets, Mk-82 500 lb and M117 750 lb bombs, and GCS-1, IR-guided versions of the Mk-82 and M117.

End notes