Mitsubishi F-2

The F-2 support fighter aircraft is a multi role single engine fighter aircraft principally designed for the Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF).

The F-2 support fighter aircraft is a multi-role single engine fighter aircraft principally designed for the Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF). It is the result of a joint Japan and USA development programme.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is the prime contractor and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company serves as the principal US subcontractor. The F-2A is the single-seat version and F-2B is the two-seat version.

The Japanese Defence Agency originally planned to procure a total of 130 F-2 aircraft (83 single-seat and 47 two-seat aircraft) with deliveries to beyond 2010, but in early 2007 this number was reduced to 94.

The initial order was for 81 aircraft. A further five were ordered in March 2007 in a $150m contract. MHI awarded a further $250m contract to Lockheed Martin in April 2008 to manufacture components for eight more F-2 aircraft. The contract was the 12th annual contract awarded by MHI to Lockheed Martin.

Japan is currently developing a new advanced fighter jet to replace the Mitsubishi F-2 support fighter aircraft.

F-2 fighter programme and development

The FS-X program

The FS-X’s origins can be traced back to the early 1980’s and the highly secretive Laboratory Three division of Japan’s Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI). There, studies were being carried out to investigate the options for an indigenous design, combining long range with maneuverability, to meet the particular requirements of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). Source


In 1987, the JASDF selected a variant of the F-16C as the Japanese FS-X aircraft to replace the Mitsubishi F-1 aircraft, and in 1988 Mitsubishi was selected as prime contractor for the aircraft, which became known as the F-2. The programme involved technology transfer from the USA to Japan, and responsibility for cost sharing was split 60% by Japan and 40% by the USA.

Test aircraft / Nazotabi ‘s なぞたびさん

Four flying prototypes were developed, along with two static prototypes for static testing and fatigue tests. Flight trials of the prototypes were successfully completed by 1997, and the aircraft entered production in 1998.


The first production aircraft was delivered to the Japanese Defence Agency in  March 2005. The aircraft are being assembled at Mitsubishi’s Komaki South Plant in Nagoya. MHI expects to complete deliveries of 76 aircraft in the near future.

Taniyan 99 たにやん99さん

In June 2007, the F-2 made its first overseas deployment to Andersen AFB in Guam for joint US / Japan exercises. The F-2 dropped live weapons for the first time during the exercises.

F-2 fighter design


Structure & Avionics

The FS-X is quite similar in appearance to the F-16, but structural modifications include:

  • Japanese-designed co-cured composite wing of greater span (1.7m wider) and root chord, with slightly less leading edge sweep. The composites give the wing added strength while reducing the weight;
  • increased span tailplane;
  • slightly reshaped and enlarged radome and forward fuselage (fuselage length has increased by 0.5m);
  • slightly altered Leading-Edge Root Extensions (LERX).

longer and wider nose to accommodate a J/APG-1/J/APG-2 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

Mark Rourke

Three-piece cockpit canopy


Increased span tailplan


Slightly altered Leading-Edge Root Extensions (LERX)

Satoshi Hashimoto

Overall, the FS-X is substantially larger than the F-16, resulting in a maximum take-off weight of 49,000lb, compared to the F-16C’s 42,000lb, although both are powered by the same 129kN (29,000lb)-thrust General Electric F110-129 turbofan engine. Other FSX structural-design changes include radar-absorbent material (RAM) applied to the aircraft’s nose, wing leading-edges and engine inlet, the use of titanium in the tail and fuselage, the addition of a braking parachute and a two-piece canopy reinforced against large bird strikes.

The primary difference, although less conspicuous than the structural modifications, between the FS-X and the F-16 is in the use of Japanese domestic technology for much of the avionics, including:

  • a new Mitsubishi Electric (Melco)-designed active phased-array radar comprising 800 3W gallium-arsenide transmit/receive modules;
  • Yokogawa LCD multi-function display (MFD);
  • Shimadzu holographic head-up display (HUD);
  • internal Mitsubishi Electric integrated electronic warfare system;
  • Japan Aviation Electronics laser inertial-navigation system backed-up with four conventional gyros;

Japan has also been forced to develop its own fly-by-wire software by the US Government’s refusal to release the F-16s computer source codes. The FS-X’s software is based on MHI’s control-configured vehicle (CCV) research program flown in the early 1980’s using a modified Mitsubishi T-2 trainer. Source

Johnson ジョンソンさん

Kawasaki is responsible for the construction of the midsection of the fuselage, as well as the doors to the main wheel and engine. Mitsubishi builds the forward section of the fuselage and the wings.


Mitsubishi has also designed the lower-wing box structure, which includes lower skin, spars, ribs and cap, and is made from graphite-epoxy composite and co-cured together in an autoclave. This is the first application of co-cured technology to a production tactical fighter.


Fuji manufactures the upper-wing surface skin, the wing fairings, the ran dome, flaperons and the engine air-intake units and the tail section. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company supplies the rear section of the fuselage, the port-side wing boxes and the leading-edge flaps.


Japan Air Self-Defense Force


The cockpit is equipped with three multifunction displays, including a liquid crystal display from Yokogawa. The pilot’s head-up display was developed by Shimadzu.

Integrated weapons system of F-2 fighter

The aircraft’s integrated electronic warfare system, mission computer and active phased array radar were developed by Mitsubishi Electric.

Japan Air Self-Defense Force

An M61A1 Vulcan 20mm multi-barrel gun is installed in the wing root of the port wing. There are 13 hardpoints for carrying weapon systems and stores: one on the fuselage centerline, one on each wing-tip and five under each wing. The stores management system is supplied by Lockheed Martin.

M61A1 Vulcan 20mm multi-barrel gun

The M61A1 and M61A2 Gatlin guns are externally powered six-barrel 20mm Gatling gun systems that offer lightweight, highly lethal combat support for a variety of air, land and sea platforms.

The M61A1 and M61A2 increases multiple-hit probabilities when compared to single barrel guns operating at lower rates of fire. The M61A1 and M61A2 weapons provide reliability up to 10 times greater than single-barrel guns.

The M61A2 shares the same features as the M61A1, but is 20 percent lighter. The M61A2 will meet or exceed the M61A1 gun’s reliability, maintainability and supportability features. The M61A2 is available for applications where weapon system weight reduction is critical.

Masahiro Kurata

M61A1/M61A2 Specifications


248 pounds (112.5 kg)
202 pounds (light barrel),
228 pounds (heavy barrel) (91.6, 103.4 kg)

Rate of fire

4,000/6,000 shots per minute


8 milliradians diameter, 80 percent circle

Muzzle velocity

3,380 feet (1,030m) per second

Average recoil force
@ 4,000 shots per minute
@ 6,000 shots per minute

2,133 pounds (9.4 kN)
3,200 pounds (14.2 kN)

Drive system

Hydraulic, electric, pneumatic

Feed system

Linked or linkless


Japan Air Self-Defense Force

There are two Frazer Nash common rail launchers manufactured by Nippi. The aircraft is capable of deploying the Raytheon AIM-7F/M medium-range Sparrow air-to-air missile, the Raytheon AIM-9L short-range Sidewinder and the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries AAM-3 short-range air-to-air missile.

AAM-3 (Type 90) short-range air-to-air missile

Mark Rourke

The AAM-3 air-to-air missile is a short-range air-to-air missile developed by Japan . The development name is AAM-3 . The main development and mass production contract company is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries .

Developed as a successor to the AIM-9L Sidewinder [1] , it aims to improve the ability to capture and track targets by detecting more sensitive temperature differences, and improve the flight mobility of the missile body. Research began around 1974, but full-scale development began in 1986, and it was officially approved [1] in 1990 ( Heisei 2) and officially adopted by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force .

The guidance method is passive dual-wavelength light wave ( infrared / ultraviolet ) homing, and the fuze is an active laser proximity fuze . The front is equipped with a large notched canard that improves missile maneuverability and has stabilizing wings at the ends. The seeker developed by NEC is used, and it is said that it is extremely resistant to infrared jamming technology (IRCCM) when combined with a noise elimination circuit . In addition, the seeker has a large swing angle, so the dome at the tip of the missile is larger than the sidewinder. It has a high off-bore sight capability [1] , and uses a direct-drive electric servo actuator that responds quickly and enables fine-grained control, unlike the conventional gas servo system that uses hot gas, to control missiles . In addition, by introducing bank-to-turn technology and expanding the seeker and swing angle to two-color infrared rays, it is demonstrating a high hit rate. Like the seeker, the proximity fuze is made by NEC and is an optical type that uses a laser. A directional warhead that can efficiently give a large attack power is adopted as the warhead. Therefore, the overall capacity is said to exceed that of the AIM-9L.  Source

AAM-4B (Type 99) air-to-air missile


AAM-4 (I’m squeak threshold – borne flight induction), the Japan of the Air Self-Defense Force mid-range is equipped with air-to-air missile is. Also known as AAM-4 [1] [2] . The main contractor is Mitsubishi Electric .

From the beginning, the guidance system uses inertial guidance and command guidance by data link from the launcher for intermediate guidance, and active radar homing (ARH) by radar built into the missile for terminal guidance . It is also possible to let the wingman take over the intermediate guidance. The range is said to be around 100km.

The AAM-4B has changed the seeker to an active phased array and added a new signal processing function [12] , which makes it 1.2 times the standoff range, 1.4 times the autonomous guidance distance, and AIM compared to the AAM-4. -Slightly in the standoff range and 1.4 times more capable in autonomous guidance distance than the 120C-7 [13] [3] . It also supports launching from the rail launcher . [14]

The name was changed to Type 99 Air-to-Air Guided Bullet (B) ( AAM-4B ) from the 2010 budget for the first year of procurement [12] , and battles centered on the F-15 modernized refurbishment aircraft. Deployment to the aircraft unit will be promoted. Source

AAM-5 (Type 04) air-to-air missile


AAM-5 (Maruyon threshold – borne flight I’m induction) is Japan of the Air Self-Defense Force is equipped with short-range air-to-air missile . The development name is AAM-5 . The main development and mass production contract company is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries .

Development began in 1991 as a successor to the 90-type air-to-air guided ammunition (AAM-3), and official approval was granted in 2004 ( Heisei 16).

AAM-3 unlike, canard is not provided, the flight control, TVC (Thrust Vector Control thrust deflection performed in all floating type flight control wing that is provided on the rocket motor and a missile tail control) It secures high mobility. In addition, an elongated strake is provided in the center of the missile .

NEC made seeker also been improved by 3-axis gimbal infrared seeker field other increase in angle, by multi-element seeker infrared focal plane array type infrared image is also performed utilizing the. By discrimination based on infrared images, it counters infrared source obstruction means such as flare . In addition, since the optical fiber gyroscope type inertial guidance (INS) is also introduced in the midway route, it is possible to lock on (LOAL) after launch by combining it with a helmet-mounted sight . Infrared image (IIR) is the guidance method for the terminal stroke . As a generation, it belongs to the same generation as AIM-9X , IRIS-T, etc. Source

The F-2 is armed with the ASM-1 and ASM-2 anti-ship missiles. Mitsubishi started developing the Type 80 series anti-ship missiles, ASM-1 and ASM-2, in 1980, originally for the F-1 fighter.

ASM-1 anti-ship missiles


The ASM-1’s configuration is typical of the earlier generation of antiship missiles. It is a sea-skimming weapon with an INS for mid-course guidance, a radar altimeter for altitude control, and a radar seeker for terminal guidance.

The ASM-1 has triangular cruciform wings mounted in the midbody and small triangular cruciform tailfins. The missile is propelled by a solid rocket motor, and is fitted with a SAP warhead weighing 150 kilograms (330 pounds).

The ASM-1 has been deployed with Japanese Mitsubishi F-1 strike aircraft and Lockheed P-3C maritime patrol aircraft. An improved variant of the ASM-1 was developed, the “Type 91 ASM-1C”, with a longer range of 65 kilometers (40 miles), as well as an improved digital guidance system with enhanced ECCM capabilities. Source

ASM-2 anti-ship missiles

Wikimedia Commons / Hunini

Development of the Type 91 ASM-2 was begun in 1988, with deliveries beginning in 1993. The ASM-2 is very similar in size and appearance to the ASM-1, except that it is turbojet powered and has an underslung air intake. Although many details are classified, the turbojet engine gives it extended range of about 100 kilometers (60 miles), and it has an imaging infrared terminal guidance seeker rather than an active radar seeker. It is believed to incorporate stealth features. The Japanese are now working on an “ASM-3” that will incorporate a ramjet engine for improved performance and range. Source

ASM-3 Anti-Ship Missile

Hamingubad はみんぐばーどさん

XASM-3 is capable of reaching Mach 3 speeds thanks to its ramjet engine fed by two air intakes (in a similar fashion to MBDA’s Meteor air to air missile of to the French ASMP-A air-launched tactical nuclear missile). XASM-3 is flying close to sea level in the final stage of attack to reduce probability of detection and intercept.

XASM-3 basic specifications:
Overall length: 5.25m
Maximum speed: Mach 3 or more
Firing range: 80nm (about 150km) or more
Weight: 900kg
Power: Integral Rocket Ramjet
Navigation and seeker: inertial / GPS (intermediate stage) + active / passive seeker (terminal phase) Source:


Japan to begin mass production of new ASM-3A supersonic anti-ship missile

Deputy Defense Minister Yamamoto Tomohiro

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced plans to begin mass production of an extended-range version of the domestically developed ASM-3 supersonic, air-launched, anti-ship missile (ASM).

The MoD said on 25 December 2020 that the new missile, which is called ASM-3A, features some of the technologies used in the under-development ASM-3 (Kai) – an upgraded version of the ASM-3 – but did not reveal its range.

The ASM-3, which has an estimated top speed of Mach 3 and a maximum range of 200 km, was jointly developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and the MoD as a successor to Japan’s Type 93 series of missiles.

However, the ASM-3 has not entered service and Janes understands that the missile will now give way to the more modern ASM-3A and ASM-3 (Kai) variants, both of which are expected to be deployed with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) F-2 multirole fighters and the service’s future F-X fighter aircraft.

The MoD said it has secured funds from the budget for fiscal year 2021 (FY 2021) to procure an unspecified number of ASM-3As.

Tokyo plans to use the ASM-3A – and to continue developing the ASM-3 (Kai) – to bolster the defence capabilities of the country’s remote southwestern islands in response to China’s growing military capabilities and increased assertiveness in the region. Source

The fighter aircraft can also carry 500lb bombs, CBU-87/B cluster bombs and rocket launchers. The centreline and the inner-wing hardpoints can carry drop tanks with a 4,400kg fuel capacity.

Avionics and flight controls

Lockheed Martin is responsible for the avionics systems. The aircraft’s digital fly-by-wire system has been developed by Japan Aviation Electric and Honeywell (formerly Allied Signal) under a joint development agreement.

The fly-by-wire modes include control augmentation, static stabilization, and load control during maneuvers.

Japan Making Its F-2 Fighter Fleet More Lethal

swamp foxさん

In a move destined to give Japanese defense manufacturers hope for the future, Aviation Week reported in late February that Japan plans to upgrade 60 F-2 fighters with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation’s AAM-4B missile, a $468 million deal.  This enhancement is expected to dramatically improve the lethality of the F-2 when engaging enemy aircraft.

A number of Japan’s Boeing F-15J fighter aircraft were equipped with AAM-4 missiles in 2007.  This version of the missile featured an advanced active radar seeker and integrated data link that allowed the pilot to fire and guide the missile to the target until the missile seeker took over allowing the aircraft to begin evasive maneuvers much earlier than in the past.

This deal will go far in helping Japan’s struggling aviation/military industry to continue operating in an environment of intense competition from international rivals.

The AAM-4B is fitted with a missile seeker featuring Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar and a greatly improved data link.  The AAM-4B will be coupled with enhanced J/APG-2 radar that gives pilots a detection range far superior to what they have now.  Analysts believe that the AAM-4B will be deployed as a replacement for the Mitsubishi Electric license- built AIM-7F/M Sparrow’s now in service, a missile that was still in production as late as 2010.

With the AAM-4B’s active search capability, coupled to an upgraded J/APG-2 radar system, modified F-2’s are expected to be able to engage multiple airborne targets from medium range without having to close to visual range, greatly improving the aircraft’s survivability and deadliness.

The AAM-4B is reported to be the same size as the AIM-7F/M Sparrow missile, but its AESA radar seeker head will provide an active homing capability and after launch target lock affording pilots the flexibility to begin evasive maneuvers or focus on other threats sooner than is now possible.

By incorporating AESA capabilities into the AAM-4B, it seems possible that Japan has designed a uniquely capable air-to-air missile.  While most front-line fighters of today are outfitted with AESA, no known air-to-air missiles are similarly equipped.

In the 1980s, Japan began development work on the AAM-4, partly as a means of bolstering Japan’s domestic arm’s manufacturers and to expand the nation’s missile technology capability.  It is not known if the early AAM-4’s ever entered active service.

In the early stages of planning and development, Japan’s Defense Ministry’s Technical Research and Development Institute indicated that the AAM-4B could be launched from a far greater distance than the AAM-4, an increase in range of as much as 20 percent.  The Institute also stated that activation of the AAM-4B’s autonomous guidance system would be possible from a range 40 percent greater than that possible with the AIM-120B AMRAAM.  Also, the AAM-4B was reportedly designed to match or outperform the Russian AA-12 Adder.  The enhanced performance of the AAM-4B is claimed to be partly the result of an increase in the level of power transmission incorporated in the AESA.

It is expected that a modified F-2 launching AAM-4Bs would be able to discontinue tracking a target much earlier and from a greater distance than can be achieved with an unmodified F-2.  With the missile’s improved autonomous guidance system giving the aircraft extended firing range, the pilot will be able to target, fire, and execute evasive maneuvers sooner than is now possible.  The upgraded AESA is also believed to improve the F-2’s ability to locate, track, and target “crossing targets,” a scenario where an air threat is flying at a right angle creating a signal of the same frequency as that of the ground.

No information has been provided to indicate how the AAM-4B compares with Raytheon’s AIM-120D AMRAAM.  Some sources have expressed the opinion that the AIM-4B’s performance will hinge on the level of technology incorporated into the control and guidance systems and may not match the performance of Raytheon’s AIM-120C-7 variant, a missile that is eligible for export.

Japan also has an inventory of Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAMS available for use.  Japanese corporate heavyweights, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric, also had a hand in the design and development of the AAM-4B.  Mitsubishi Heavy managed the missile integration phase of the project and Mitsubishi Electric focused on upgrading the radar systems.  Japan’s Ministry of Defense reported that development was completed successfully.

It is not known how many, if any, operating F-2’s are presently equipped to carry the AAM-4B, but Japan’s FY2012 budget submission does include funding for radar upgrades for 40 aircraft and fire-control upgrades for 16 aircraft.  Funding for the AAM-4B enhancements for 60 aircraft is expected to appear in future budget submissions, possibly to coincide with extensive maintenance plans.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense also confirmed that the modified F-2’s will be capable of launching and coordinating several missiles aimed at more than one target simultaneously.  The Ministry would not reveal the exact number of targets that may be fired upon at the same time, but the modified F-2’s will be configured to mount four AAM-4B’s.

Operational F-2’s are already equipped with AESA and the modified F-2’s will be similarly equipped.  Comparable aircraft fitted with AESA employ a data link that transmits signals from the aircraft to an airborne missile using radar.  The modified F-2’s will be outfitted with a separate data link transmitter, the J/ARG-1.

Additional guidance system modifications will include upgrading the existing J/APG-1 AESA radar to a J/APG-2 standard.  The J/APG-2 is expected to maximize the capabilities of the AAM-4B by allowing for target detection at much longer ranges and to increase the probabilities of scoring a hit.  The J/APG-2 is known to be capable of generating significantly greater power and incorporates a signal processor that is faster and more reliable.  Japanese officials remain secretive regarding the specific J/APG-2 capabilities and have stated that they have not made any comparison with foreign-built radar systems.  Some sources speculate that the J/APG-2 might be comparable to Raytheon’s APG-79 carried on US F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

The upgraded F-2’s are a critical part of Japan’s air defense system and can be expected to continue in an operational flying status, alongside Japan’s existing fleet of F-15J’s, for many years to come.  It is still uncertain if Japan will continue with its plans to acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters or if they will select a competing aircraft to beef-up their air fleet.  What is known, with production of the F-2 now completed and discontinued, is that Japan is looking at a future that is getting ever more dangerous by the day. Source

J/APG-2 standard

J/APG-1 is an Active electronically scanned array radar system designed and manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric for use on the Mitsubishi F-2 fighter aircraft. It was the first series production AESA to be introduced on a military aircraft in service. It is currently being upgraded to the J/APG-2 standard for compatibility with the new AAM-4B air-to-air missile. Source

Japanese F-2 support fighter using J / APG-1 AESA radar, as the first practical airborne AESA radar, to promote its domestic data generally it has 800 T / R modules , as well as the early models of the low altitude Small Target only look 35NM known, in fact, whether it is propaganda so bear it?

Actual T / R module number is (24 + 24 + 24 + 90 + 56 + 12 + 288) + 180 = 1216 . …… Cunning little devils can not really stupid, from scratch war era like data to lower reported, it seems that this tradition continues, if known T / R module power (3W GaAs MMIC) power thrust reversers radar, then it will underestimate as many as 52% of the maximum power. Google translated from Chinese

Defense Agency Technology Development Division in 2011 to promote its PDF, practical time and development J 6W GaN T / R modules / APG-2 radar basically consistent.

Under the assumption that the improved J / APG-2 radar uses 6W GaN components to achieve the planned book, said the situation “ultra-high output holds ji ュ Hikaru pay air line”, integrated at least remain the same, the Japanese media exceeds AN / APG- capacity 79 AESA radar can not really be regarded as bragging. Google translated from Chinese  Source

Type: ESM Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 222.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Late 1980s
Role: RWR, Radar Warning Receiver
Max Range: 222.2 km



J / AAQ-2 is an infrared forward monitoring device Mitsubishi Electric has been developed for the F-2 (FLIR).


J / AAQ-2 at night navigation for the system to be mounted in a pod form F-2, navigation function of the time of night or in bad weather , in addition to the identification and tracking functions of the air-to-air and air-to-ground targets , to follow the ground moving target of It has a function . However, the functionality of the targeting pod ( English version ) is not expected to have [1 ] . Further , the turret portion is rotatable , and has a specification that the turret is to expose the one rotating sensor in use .

J / AAQ-2 is developed from the fact that the need for war lessons from nighttime low altitude navigation capability and precision bombing capability improvement of the Gulf War has been recognized was done . Request following specifications in developing is performed

  • land and to the sea target , it is possible detection identification and tracking visually and equal to or greater than the distance at the time of night and bad visibility .
  • At the time of night of fine weather , it is possible visual equivalent of navigation during the daytime of fine weather .
  • that in the time of bad visibility , it is possible to visually equivalent of navigation during the daytime of bad visibility .
  • to have a distance measuring function for the automatic tracking function and ground fixed target for a single goal .
  • mounted embodiment of the present system is based on the exterior .
  • there is no significant decrease in flight performance of the aircraft by the mounting of the device , that flight characteristics are good .



  • Design and Development : Mitsubishi Electric
  • total length : 216cm
  • Diameter:
  • prototype about 36cm
  • mass-produced about 30cm
  • Weight:
  • prototype 164.9kg
  • mass-produced 145kg

Translated by Google – Data


Japan’s F-2 Marks 8th Platform to Fly with Lockheed Martin Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod

August 12/15: Japan acquired external link one Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pod last year for trials on a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-2 fighter. The Japanese defense ministry reportedly external link allocated $49.1 million to test the targeting pod as part of a potential upgrade package for the JASDF’s F-2 fleet. Jordan signed a contract for more Sniper pods in June, with the pod’s integration on the F-2 marking the eighth aircraft platform that the pod has operated from. Source

Lockheed Martin Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod

Sniper pods provide improved long-range target detection/identification and continuous stabilized surveillance for all missions, including close air support of ground forces. The Sniper pod enables aircrews to detect and identify weapon caches and individuals carrying armaments, all outside jet noise ranges. Superior imagery, a video datalink and J-series-weapons-quality coordinates provided by the Sniper pod enable rapid target decisions and keep aircrews out of threat ranges.

High resolution imagery for non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (NTISR) enables the Sniper pod to play a major role in Air Force operations in theater, providing top cover for ground forces, as well as increasing the safety of civilian populations.

A sniper advance targeting pod is attached to the B1B Lancer Mar. 17 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. The sniper pod provides a clearer picture for a targeting area. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Desiree N. Palacios)

Sniper pods include a high definition mid-wave forward looking infrared (FLIR), dual-mode laser, HDTV, laser spot tracker, laser marker, video data link, and a digital data recorder. Advanced image processing algorithms, combined with rock steady stabilization techniques, provide cutting-edge performance. The pod features automatic tracking and laser designation of tactical size targets via real-time imagery presented on cockpit displays. The Sniper pod is fully compatible with the latest J-series munitions for precision weapons delivery against multiple moving and fixed targets.

Advanced Targeting Pod – Sensor Enhancement (ATP-SE) design upgrades include enhanced sensors, advanced processors, and automated NTISR modes.

The Sniper pod’s architecture and modular design permits true two-level maintenance, eliminating costly intermediate-level support. Automated built-in test permits flightline maintainers to isolate and replace an LRU in under 20 minutes. Spares are ordered through a user-friendly website offering in-transit visibility to parts shipment.

The Sniper pod’s modular design also offers an affordable road map for modernizing and enhancing precision targeting capabilities for U.S. Air Force and coalition partner aircraft.

General characteristics
Primary function: positive identification, automatic tracking and laser designation, NTISR
Prime contractor: Lockheed Martin
Length: 98.2 inches (252 centimeters)
Diameter: 11.9 inches (30 centimeters)
Weight: 446 pounds (202 kilograms)
Aircraft: F-15E, F-16 Block 30/40/50, A-10, B-1
Sensors: high resolution FLIR and HDTV, dual mode laser designator, laser spot tracker and laser marker
Date deployed: January 2005


Suzuka @ Kaze 鈴鹿@風さん


The communications systems fitted in the F-2 are the AN/ARC-164 transceiver, operating at UHF band and supplied by Raytheon, a V/UHF transceiver supplied by NEC, a Hazeltine information friend or foe interrogator, and an HF radio, developed and supplied by Kokusai Electric.

AN/ARC-164 transceiver

The AN/ARC-164 HAVE QUICK II radios are used for air-to-air, air-to-ground and ground-to-air communications deployed on all Army rotary wing aircraft. These radios provide anti-jam, secure communications links for joint task forces and Army aviation missions. The Army operational forces utilizing these radios are Aviation Units, Air Traffic Services and Ranger Units. It also provides the Army the ability to communicate with USAF, USN and NATO units in the UHF-AM mode which is the communications band for tactical air operations. This system has been transitioned to Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM).

The AN/ARC-164 HAVE QUICK II radio is an UHF-AM radio. There are three major aircraft configurations of AN/ARC-164 radio and one ground configuration, AN/VRC-83. The AN/ARC-164 receiver/transmitter (RT) configurations include a panel mount (RT-1518C), remote control (RT-1504) and a remote mounted, data bus compatible (RT-1614). Common components of the radio are the RT, control head and antenna. This UHF-AM radio operates as a single channel or a frequency hopping radio. Its frequency range is from 225 – 399.975 MHz, and it has the capacity for 7,000 channels. The aircraft radio transmits with a power output of 10 watts and can receive voice or data modulated signals with the VINSON or VANDAL communications security devices. It has an embedded “ECCM” anti-jam capability. The guard channel of 243.000 MHz can be monitored. The unit weights of the Panel Mount R/T, the Remote R/T, the Data Bus R/T and the Control Unit are 9.3, 8.5, 8.5 and 4.3 pounds respectively. Source


The AN/APX-113(V) is a versatile system used not only on the USAF F-16 fighter, but also on ASW/Surveillance helicopters, aerostats, MIG-29, Japan’s F-2 fighter, and other international platforms. Source

F-2 turbofan engine


The aircraft is equipped with a General Electric F110-GE-129 afterburning turbofan engine. The engine develops 131.7kN and the speed of the aircraft is Mach 2. The F-2 produces 17,000lb of thrust, with 29,000lb generated when the burners are switched on.

General Electric F110-GE-129 turbofan engine

The F110 engine powers the F-16 Fighting Falcon where it competes with Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200/220/229 turbofan engines. As much as 86% of all U.S. Air Force F-16C/D aircraft are powered by the GE F110. More than 75% of U.S. Air Force single-engine F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft are equipped with F110-GE-129 engines.



Overseas, the Air Force of South Korea selected the F110-GE-129 engine to power its twin-engine F-15K Slam Eagle fighter jets. The F110-GE-129 engine is also used on Saudi Arabia’s F-15SA and Singapore’s F-15SG. The F110-GE-129 also powers Japan’s Mitsubishi F-2 as well as the F-16 fleets of the Turkish, Greek, and Japanese air forces. Growth versions of the F110 that provide up to 36,000 pound of thrust have been conceptualized. Source

Main material source

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image by Atsugi R4さん

Revised Apr 23, 2021

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