We had a crazy red scheme to assert our dominance with, now you can this blue one to do as well! Presenting another machine from the 21 Fighter Training Squadron. Actually, presenting the same aircraft from the last skin but in a different paint scheme is the Mitsubishi T-2 29-5178. Zoom around the map with your blue T-2 in 4K DDS glory, just like that other blue Japanese speedhog, Sonic.
Again we have the Mitsubishi T-2 29-5178, s/n 144. Constructed in December 1982, the aircraft was soon delivered to the Japanese Air Self Defense Forces. Despite a ‘dull’ career as a trainer aircraft for the 21st and 22nd Squadron, the aircraft wore several colorful paint schemes over the years. One was a paint scheme for the 40th anniversary of the JASDF in 1994, with another being this overall bright blue airframe with several special ’21’ graphics combined with angel wings.
Created and applied to celebrate 28th anniversary of the T2 introduction into the JSADF and the 40th anniversary of the 21 Fighter Training Squadron / Hikotai, they were also meant to mark the end of the T-2’s service with the JASDF (the sole operator of the type). The markings were presented on specially held Open House Day at Matsushima Air Base in 2003. This show was created to make up for the cancelled Matsushima Air Festival, which was cancelled at the last moment because of an earthquake a few months prior.
The T-2 with the 21st and 22nd Fighter Training Squadron
The 21st and 22nd Fighter Training Squadrons were two flight training units that fell under the command of the 4th Air Division within the JASDF Flight Education Group. Both were formed at the Matsushima Air Base, with the 21st officially launching on the 1st of October 1976 from the temporary 21st (Training) Squadron. On the 5th of April 1978 the second T-2 Training Squadron, 22nd FTS, was launched.
In February of 1982, the Blue Impulse display team retired its Sabre aircraft and was outfitted with Mitsubishi T-2 trainers. Because of this the team was added to the 21st FTs and the first show with the new aircraft was presented on 25 June 1982 at the team’s new Matsushima home base.
In 1996 it was decided to abolish the use of the Mitsubishi T-2 in favor of the Kawasaki T-4. As such the 22 FTS was to be shut down on the 27th of March, 2001, mostly due to the reorganisation of the Flight Education Program of the JASDF. Although the 21st FTS retired it’s T-2 aircraft in 2004, it was a bit more lucky to remain in service and operates a mix of Kawasaki T-4 and Mitsubishi F-2B aircraft in combination with the Blue Impulse display team.
On March 11th, 2011, the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake inflicted a large amount of damage on the Matsushima Air Base, causing flood damage on all aircraft which were based there at the time, crippling all base activities. 5 of the 18 F-2B aircraft based there at the time were flood damaged beyond repair. On the 16th of April base personel was moved to Misawa to continue with training. After more than 5 years however, the 21st squadron was finally able to return to Matsushima air base on the 20th of March 2016 with 10 F-2 aircraft, 6 of which were repaired aircraft from that faithful day. The last repaired aircraft (33-8127) arrived at Matsushima base on February 28, 2018.