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Thread: Japan already to upgrade about 60 F-2 fighters

  1. #1

    Default Japan already to upgrade about 60 F-2 fighters

    Japan already has bought Raytheon AIM-120 Amraams, so why is it spending ¥36 billion ($468 million) to upgrade about 60 F-2 fighters with the Mitsubishi Electric Corp. AAM-4B missile? Although the benefits to Japanese industry are obvious, details of the upgrade and the missile itself suggest that the program is giving an enormous boost to the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries fighter’s ability to counter enemy aircraft. The weapon has at least one advanced feature that other such missiles lack: a seeker with an active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The program will move into high gear in the financial year that begins April 1. The work is progressing in two parallel programs: integration of the AAM-4B missile, and upgrade of the J/APG-1 radar to a more powerful standard called J/APG-2. The improved radar, needed to exploit the new missile, will incidentally raise the capabilities of the aircraft by offering greater detection ranges. Both systems have been developed by the Japanese defense ministry’s Technical Research and Development Institute with considerable help from contractors, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the missile integration and Mitsubishi Electric for the radar. The same companies are contracted to do the installation work. Ministry officials tell Aviation Week that development went smoothly and is now complete. Early in the development program, in 2001, the ministry gave rough indications of the AAM-4B’s capabilities. It could be launched at a 20% greater range than could the then-current AAM-4 and at least as far as an “AIM-120B+,” a standard that was expected to appear around 2004. The crucial claim was that the AAM-4B could switch to autonomous guidance at a 40% greater range than either of the other two missiles and would similarly outperform what was expected to be the 2009 standard of the Russian R-77 (AA-12 Adder). In a 2010 paper, the ministry attributed the seeker’s greater performance to the higher transmitting power available from the AESA. The implication is that an F-2 firing AAM-4Bs can stop tracking the target for missile guidance much sooner than an unmodified F-2 can—and officials tell Aviation Week that the key aim of the project is indeed to increase the range at which an F-2 can turn away. Referring to this detail, a former high-ranking U.S. Air Force officer says: “In the air-to-air realm, a 40% increase in range is very significant and would provide the [Japan Air Self-Defense Force] a very capable missile.” The same person, highly familiar with the electronic technology of air warfare, does not regard the advances claimed for the upgraded F-2 as improbable; they are to be expected, he says. The ministry also says that the AESA seeker will have a better capability against a crossing target—one that reflects a radio signal with the same frequency as the ground. Fighter pilots can dive and turn at right angles to a threat to create that complication for enemy radars and missiles. The number of F-2s that are already able to use the AAM-4B is undisclosed, but a budget allocation to do most of the radar upgrades in fiscal 2012 shows that the bulk of the installation program is only now getting underway. The missile integration, centered on an upgrade of the fire-control system, will be applied to 16 aircraft in that fiscal year, at a cost of ¥340 million per aircraft, while 40 will get the new radar, for ¥260 million each. Future budgets will determine when the planned 60 upgrades, enough to equip three squadrons, are completed. The work is being done in conjunction with heavy maintenance on each fighter. Research and development of the F-2’s fire-control upgrade began in 2004. The installation was mentioned in the fiscal 2010 budget, but little has been known about it. The ministry is always secretive about its air-to-air missiles. http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...Upgrade&next=0

  2. #2
    Senior Member flanker7's Avatar
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    An AESA missile? Sounds expensive

    C.Puffs please explain if the benefits justify the cost

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    Sheep Whisperer ayanami_tard's Avatar
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    i always think that the japanese choose the wrong aircraft as maritime strike aircraft

    there's a reason why USN rejected F-16 design and opt for YF-17.granted F-2 is a land-based aircraft,but still

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ayanami_tard View Post
    i always think that the japanese choose the wrong aircraft as maritime strike aircraft

    there's a reason why USN rejected F-16 design and opt for YF-17.granted F-2 is a land-based aircraft,but still


    Should have continued with the Mitsubishi Fsx, since the F-2 was much more expensive than the F-16.
    Also do not understand why he chose the F-16 since it looks like FSX more with the YF-17.

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