Saturday, March 17, 2012

Japan to upgrade F-2s with new radar, AESA-equiped AAMs

JASDF F-2A. (USAF Photo)

Japan is planning to upgrade 60 Mitsubishi F-2 combat jets with new radars and integration with the AAM-4B air-to-air missile (AAM) in a deal believed to be worth US$468 million. This upgrade will also provide a much-needed boost to Japan’s struggling aviation/military industry.

The AAM-4B is fitted with a missile seeker featuring, for the first time in an AAM, an Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar. Coupled with the enhanced J/APG-2 radar to replace the current J/APG-1 set, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-2 pilots are expected to have vastly improved air-to-air capabilities.

The survivors of 94 F-2s currently serve with 2 JASDF Hikotais (Wings). One aircraft has been lost in a crash, while 12 were written off in the aftermath of the March 2011 tsunami that swept through Matsushima Airbase.

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