JASDF, Tsuiki; Mitsubishi F-2 Zero Viper, Emergency Stop


Since the development of the Mitsubishi F-2 began, the Japan Self Air Defense Force (JASDF) has had three operational squadron flying this type. There is also a conversion squadron that ensures the type of conversion in the training process. A number of F-2s are used for testing and by developing the F-2 type in flight.

The first operational unit that would receive the F-2 was the 3 Hikotai. On March 31, 1978, the 3 Hikotai was updated from the F-86F to the Mitsubishi F-1 and the unit was transferred to the 3 Air Wing (3 Kokudan). After a period of just 23 years, the 3 Hikotai would start from the end of March 2001 with the conversion to the Mitsubishi F-2. The 3 Hikotai based on Misawa was the first squadron in Japan to operate the F-2 operationally from March 2004. From January 2020, the 3 Hikotai will be moved to Hyakuri Air Base. With the phasing out of the F-4 Phantom, Misawa becomes the first F-35A base in Japan, which means it has to move 3 Hikotai. The current tail marking of the 3 Hikotai is the helmet head of a samurai. The colorful design was adopted when the squadron was still flying F-1 aircraft in 1983. Since the squadron started using the F-2 in maritime camouflage colors, the tail mark design has been made smaller and less colorful. The second unit in Japanese history to fly the Mitsubishi F-2 was a training squadron. This unit would be the 21 Hikotai that is currently based on Matsushima. The squadron that was established in October 1976, flew from the start with the Mitsubishi T-2. In the period from January 12, 1982 to December 22, 1995, the 21 Hikotai also flew the JASDF Aerobatics Team Blue Impulse as part of the squadron. From mid-2002 the unit switched to the Mitsubishi F-2. The 21 Hikotai would mainly fly the two-seater version of the F-2 for the type conversion at the JASDF. The aircraft of the unit can be recognized by the blue triangle on the tail of the F-2B.

The third unit that would make the transition to the Mitsubishi F-2 was 6 Hikotai. This unit would make the switch in August of 2004. The 6 Hikotai was established in 1959 and then flew the F-86 Sabre at Chitose and Matsushima. From March 1980, 6 Hikotai started flying with the Mitsubishi F-1 in the offensive role on Tsuiki. The unit is still based today on this airbase in southern Japan. In March 2006, 6 Hikotai made its last flight with the T-2 at the unit, from this point the squadron was fully operational on the F-2. The aircraft of the 6 Hikotai can be recognized by the crossed swords and the bow and arrow in a yellow circle on the tail of the F-2. The last Japanese unit that would make the conversion to the Mitsubishi F-2 was 8 Hikotai. The squadron was founded in Matsushima in 1960 and then flew the F-86 Sabre. Just like the other squadrons of its kind, the unit started operations on the F-1 at Misawa in 1979. Unlike the other F-1 squadrons, this unit would not immediately switch to the F-2. Because the delivery of the type was delayed, it was decided that the 8 Hikotai as the last unit would first start flying with the F-4EJ Kai for several years. From 1997 onwards the unit flew the F-4EJ Phantom II. From 2008, 8 Hikotai was the last unit in Japan to complete the conversion to the F-2. The 8 Hikotai is currently based on Tsuiki in the south of the country. The Mitsubishi F-2 is currently the most modern offensive weapon of the JASDF until the arrival of the F-35A Lightning II.