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Mitsubishi T-2

The Mitsubishi T-2 was a supersonic jet trainer aircraft used by the Japan Air Self Defence Force.

Introduced in 1975, it was the first Japanese-designed aircraft to break the sound barrier.

 It was the basis of the Mitsubishi F-1 military aircraft.

All T-2s were retired by 2006.

Post-World War II rendered Japan without a modern jet fighter for defensive purposes.

Two decades after World War II had concluded, Japanese Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) began to consider the development of a supersonic jet tentatively named “T-X.”

Japan had found that the subsonic Fuji T-1 jet trainer did not adequately prepare trainee pilots for more complex and difficult handling front line Mach 2 fighters such as the Lockheed F-104J Starfighter and McDonnell Douglas F-4EJ Phantom and so, in 1964–65, began studies for a new trainer, the T-X, which it was hoped would also form the basis for a future single-seat attack aircraft, the SF-X.

Consideration was also given to acquiring existing foreign aircraft instead of developing a new aircraft, with the United States offering the Northrop T-38 Talon, and the Anglo/French consortium SEPECAT offering the SEPECAT Jaguar as a trainer and single-seat fighter.

Japan considered both aircraft carefully, and attempted to negotiate licensed production of the Jaguar, but these plans failed, possibly due to nationalism and an issue with the Imperial family, or more prosaically, due to the high royalty payments demanded by SEPECAT.

In the end, Japan decided to manufacture its own design, which, produced to meet similar requirements, would closely resemble the Jaguar.

In 1967, Japanese aviation firms Fuji, Kawasaki, and Mitsubishi, each submitted proposals, and in September 1967, under lead designer Dr. Kenji Ikeda, Mitsubishi’s design was selected.

The official contract was issued for the development of the XT-2 was placed on 30 March 1968, with Mitsubishi as prime contractor and Fuji as Prime sub-contractor.

Several other subcontracts with aerospace firms and other minor aviation manufacturers were also established.

By March 1969, the design had been finalized, and the XT-2 prototype was rolled out on 28 April 1971 and performed its maiden flight on 20 July 1971.

The XT-2 was followed by three more prototypes and became the first aircraft of Japanese design to break the sound barrier in level flight.

Two of the four prototypes were armed, and the other two were not.

A total of 90 production T-2s were built.

An additional two T-2(Z)s were built but modified for the S-FX / F-1 strike fighter program.

The last T-2 rolled off the assembly line in 1988.





T-2, T-2A, Two-seat advanced jet trainer aircraft


T-2, T-2B, Two-seat armed weapons training aircraft.


Experimental Control Configuration Vehicle testbed, built from the third T-2 produced.

Includes three canards.





17.85 m (58 ft 7 in)


7.88 m (25 ft 10 in)


4.39 m (14 ft 5 in)

Wing area

21.8 m2 (235 sq ft)

Aspect ratio



NACA 65 series (modified)

Empty weight

6,197 kg (13,662 lb)

Gross weight

9,675 kg (21,330 lb) clean

Max take-off weight

12,800 kg (28,219 lb) 

Fuel capacity

3,823 l (1,010 US gal; 841 imp gal) internal fuel,

With provision for up to 3x 833 l (220 US gal; 183 imp gal) drop-tanks


2 × Ishikawa-Harima TF40-801A afterburning turbofan,

20.95 kN (4,710 lbf) thrust each dry,

31.76 kN (7,140 lbf) with afterburner


Maximum speed

1,700 km/h (1,100 mph, 920 kn) at 10,975 m (36,007 ft)

Maximum speed

Mach 1.6 at 11,000 m (36,000 ft) at MTOW clean

Ferry range

2,870 km (1,780 mi, 1,550 nmi) with 3 x drop tanks

Service ceiling

15,240 m (50,000 ft)

Rate of climb

177.833 m/s (35,006.5 ft/min)

Required field length

1,525 m (5,003 ft)



1 × 20 mm JM61A1 cannon


One centreline and two under-wing pylons


Provision for Two AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile on wingtip missile rails.


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