Mitsubishi F-4E/J

Japan selected the F-4 Phantom II as its new fighter at the end of the 1960s.

On 1 November 1968, this choice was made public and Japan became one of the few countries that license-produced this aircraft.

The Japan Air Self-Defence Force, received a total of 154 F-4EJ and RF-4Es.

 While the F-4EJs were built almost entirely by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the RF-4Es were bought directly from McDonnell-Douglas.

Due to Japanese military limitations prohibiting air-to-ground ordnance, the F-4EJs were delivered without the AN/AJB-7 bombing computer system and also did not have an air-refuelling probe or receptacle.

In service F-4EJs replaced the JASDF’s fleet of Lockheed F-104 J Starfighters.

McDonnell Douglas built the two prototype F-4EJs, which first flew on 14 January 1971.

The next 11 aircraft were assembled in Japan and the first Japanese-built example flew on 12 May 1972.

Mitsubishi built all the EJs over the next nine years and the production ended with 127th F-4EJ, on 20 May 1981.

This was the last F-4 built in the world.

Fourteen RF-4Es were delivered between November 1974 and June 1975.

These were similar to the RF-4C, but, as for the F-4EJs, Japanese-built radar warning receivers and other equipment were substituted to replace equipment which was not released for export to Japan.

The F-4EJ entered service with the JASDF in August 1972 with a total of Six Squadrons operating the aircraft, the 301, 302, 303, 304, 305 and 306th.

The RF-4E equipped the 501st, that had previously operated one of the less-well-known Sabre models, the RF-86F.

Japanese procurement involved small, multi-year orders, which made for slow production of small batches ordered every year.





63 ft 0 in (19.2 m)


38 ft 5 in (11.7 m)


16 ft 5 in (5 m)

Wing area

530 sq ft (49.2 m2)

Aspect ratio




NACA 0006.4–64


NACA 0003-64

Empty weight

30,328 lb (13,757 kg)

Gross weight

41,500 lb (18,824 kg)

Max take-off weight

61,795 lb (28,030 kg)

Maximum landing weight

36,831 lb (16,706 kg)

Fuel capacity

1,994 US gal (1,660 imp gal; 7,550 l) internal, 3,335 US gal (2,777 imp gal; 12,620 l) with 2x 370 US gal (310 imp gal; 1,400 l) external tanks on the outer wing hardpoints and either a 600 or 610 US gal (500 or 510 imp gal; 2,300 or 2,300 l) tank for the centre-line station.


2 × General Electric J79-GE-17A after-burning turbojet engines, 11,905 lbf (52.96 kN) thrust each dry, 17,845 lbf (79.38 kN) with afterburner


Maximum speed

1,280 kn (1,470 mph, 2,370 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,000 m)

Maximum speed

Mach 2.23

Cruise speed

510 kn (580 mph, 940 km/h)

Combat range

370 nmi (420 mi, 680 km)

Ferry range

1,457 nmi (1,677 mi, 2,699 km)

Service ceiling

60,000 ft (18,000 m)

Rate of climb

41,300 ft/min (210 m/s)



Wing loading

78 lb/sq ft (380 kg/m2)


0.86 at loaded weight, 0.58 at MTOW

Take-off roll

4,490 ft (1,370 m) at 53,814 lb (24,410 kg)

Landing roll

3,680 ft (1,120 m) at 36,831 lb (16,706 kg)


E-model has a 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan cannon mounted internally under the nose, 640 rounds

Up to 18,650 lb (8,480 kg) of weapons on nine external hard points, including general-purpose bombs, cluster bombs, TV- and laser-guided bombs, rocket pods, anti-ship missiles, gun pods, and nuclear weapons.

Reconnaissance, targeting, electronic countermeasures and baggage pods, and external fuel tanks may also be carried.

4 x AAM – 3 F-4EJ.




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