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Tsunami Damages Squadron Of Mitsubishi F-2s
By Leithen Francis

SINGAPORE, 18 March 2011 - Japan's ministry of defense is investigating whether it can repair the 18 Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Mitsubishi F-2 fighters that were damaged by seawater from the March 11 tsunami.

The JASDF's Matsushima air base in Miyagi prefecture, near the epicenter of Japan's 9.0 magnitude earthquake, was inundated with seawater from the resulting tsunami, damaging the F-2s and a number of other aircraft, possibly permanently, says Japan's ministry of defense (MOD). The JASDF ordered a total of 98 F-2s, of which four were left to be delivered as of early March.

The damaged F-2s were all two-seaters and formed a trainer squadron, says a source familiar with the situation. Some were parked on the flight-line and some were inside hangars, but all were damaged by the seawater, the source says. Local news reports say the tsunami that ravaged northeast Japan had waves as high as 33 ft.

"MOD doesn't know yet if the aircraft can be repaired but it will be difficult to repair because the cockpit and engines were soaked," the source says. "The priority right now for MOD is the relief effort so we won't know for a while" whether the aircraft can be repaired, the source adds.

F-2 (70k) Japanese F-2 trainer with its nose poking through the window of a building following a massive tsunami
F-2 (81k) Overhead view of four damaged F-2 fighters at the Matsushima air base struck by the tsunami
F-2 (79k) Japanese structures damaged by tsunami waters and one of the F-2 trainers covered in debris
F-2 (48k) Another F-2 trainer covered by tsunami debris
F-2 (67k) Japanese airmen inspect damage to a Mitsubishi F-2 fighter struck by tsunami waters
F-2 (69k) The force of the tsunami wave is demonstrated by its ability to move this F-2 trainer
F-2 (114k) Destruction left behind at the Matsushima air base by the tsunami that struck Japan
F-2 (60k) Japanese F-2 trainer heavily damaged by the March 2011 tsunami

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