A Japanese F-2B lands at Tsuiki airbase. (Image © Robert van Zon)

Japan starts repairs on tsunami-stricken F-2s

A Japanese F-2B  lands at Tsuiki airbase. This one escaped the tsunami. (Image © Robert van Zon)
A Japanese F-2B lands at Tsuiki airbase. This one escaped the tsunami. (Image © Robert van Zon)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Lockheed Martin have started repairs on Mitsubishi F-2 fighters damaged by the tsunami that hit eastern Japan on 11 March 2011. Eighteen Japanese F-2 fighter aircraft based at Matsushima airbase were badly damaged by the tsunami that left more than 25.000 people dead and caused 328 billion USD of damage.

Lockheed Martin supplies aft and leading edge flaps as part of the restoration plan. “We are honored to play a role in helping Japan’s F-2 fighter regain its full mission capability,” said Roderick McLean, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Integrated Fighter Group. “The delivery of the F-2 aft and leading edge flaps is a milestone accomplishment our team is privileged to contribute to Japan’s restoration path.”

The number of F-2B to be repaired is mentioned in reports as 13 out of the 18 that were damaged. The reports contradict earlier reports that 12 aircraft were actually written off. The F-2 fighters were parked on the apron and in the hangars at Matsushima airbase near Sendai when the tsunami hit. Matsushima is located a stone’s throw away from the Pacific coast and the airfield was completely inundated by the salt water. These pictures were taken after the water withdrew.

The F-2 program is a joint Japan/U.S. development, production and sustainment program. MHI is the prime contractor, and Lockheed Martin is the principal U.S. subcontractor. Production began in 1996, with the first delivery in 2000. A total of 94 aircraft were produced.

Source: Lockheed Martin with additional reporting by AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

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