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Mitsubishi Aerospace F-3A - Japan's stealthy F-15J Replacement

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Mitsubishi Aerospace F-3A - 302nd Hikotai (Aggressor Flight), Japanese Air Self Defense Force, 2013

 

When Japan selected the F-16 to be it's new 'secondary fighter' in 1987 it had already been planned to produce a developed version of the F-16 to be manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to replace the ageing Mitsubishi F-1 and F-4EJ and eventually supplement the F-15J. But even before production of the F-2 had started, senior JASDF officials requested a more capable aircraft to replace the F-15J and by late 1992 they had settled upon a revised version of the rejected General Dynamics ATF submission dating from the late 1980's. This promised to give Mitsubishi an opportunity to introduce technologies planned for the F-2 into the new F-3 'primary fighter' such as the co-cured technology used to create lighter composite structures and the F110-GE-129 engine. With rumours emerging of a probable merger between General Dynamics and Lockheed, Mitsubishi moved swiftly and controversially bought the GD design in early 1993 including long-term production licences regarded by many aerospace industry insiders as being grossly over-valued and leading to a unit price that eventually exceeded that of the F-22 Raptor. 

 

Despite this, development of the F-3 moved smoothly with the programme generally running about five years behind the F-2 and thus able to continue to incorporate innovations learnt from it's smaller predecessor. The first flight of the XF-3A took place on December 24th, 2000 with production F-3A aircraft entering service with 302nd Hikotai in early 2011.

 

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JASDFGD_ATF03_zps2ef72e20.jpg

 

Julhelm's outstanding General Dynamics ATF Contender.

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My my, is Jul planning to ever release this toy (I'd take that skin too, even though in my dystopia, the F-3 ended up being a F-23, produced in collaboration with the Royal Dhimari Aircraft Manufacture) ? He produces such nice shiny ones...

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sir, without disrespect, i agree its a beautiful bird, but isn't that huge tornado style rudder give a lot radar signature? CMIIW :)

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sir, without disrespect, i agree its a beautiful bird, but isn't that huge tornado style rudder give a lot radar signature? CMIIW :)

I know what you mean but direct that question to General Dynamics!

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