Mitsubishi F-2

When Japan was looking for a new fighter aircraft to succeed the Mitsubishi F-1, the Japanese government wanted to develop one on its own. However, the US government feared that the result would be an inferior aircraft, so it offered F-16 technology as a starting point. Hence it is no surprise that the F-16 and F-2 resemble each other a lot. The main difference is that the F-2 has wings that are about 25% larger than that of the F-16. The nose is also longer and the horizontal stabiliser wider. However, for us aviation enthusiast it is easier to look at the canopy. It has an extra bow frame compared to the F-16, creating a three-piece canopy.

Forward fuselage of the F-2A, showing the large resemblance with the F-16, with one notable difference: the three-piece bubble canopy.

The tail is also nearly identical to that of the F-16, although the horizontal stabilisers are bigger. The drag chute - above the tail pipe - is standard.


This is the single seat variant of the F-2, comparable to the F-16A and F-16C.

Full view of the Mitsubishi F-2A.


The dual seat F-2B looks a lot like the F-16B and F-16D. In this version the canopy is also the best way to distinguish them: the canopy of the F-2B has two bow frames, while the F-16 has only one, in the middle. Also the canopy is more curved on top than that of the F-16B/D.

Mitsubishi F-2B

Detail of canopy of F-2B.

Confusion possible with

Lockheed-Martin F-16

f 16c

The resemblance between the F-16 and the Mitsubishi F-2 is striking. They are nearly identical on the outside. This is due to an arrangement between the USA and Japan. When you look at the canopy of both aircraft you see that recognition is actually quite easy: the F-2 has a three-piece canopy, the F-16 a two-piece.

IAI Lavi

looking for photo

The Lavi can be described as an F-2 (or F-16) with canards instead of conventional horizontal stabilisers. For the rest the resemblance is large, up to the oval shape of the air intake underneath the fuselage.

Chengdu J-10

chengdu j 10a

The same can be said about the Chengdu J-10. This also has a delta wing-canard configuration and an air intake under the fuselage. However, it is not separated from the fuselage - like on the F-2 - but directly placed underneath it. (photo: Aktug Ates/WikiMedia)

Eurofighter Typhoon

typhoon fgr4

While the Typhoon has the same basic configuration regarding the location of the air intake, canopy and wing shape, it is significantly bigger than the F-2. Also it has a rectangular air intake split in two and canards instead of horizontal stabilisers.