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The Mitsubishi F-1 is a single-seat attack aircraft that evolved from the Mitsubishi T-2 shipping with an air-to-air capability. The F-1 entered service in April 1978 and production ended in March 1987. 160 aircraft were planned, but only 77 were built. The F-1 had several upgrades to extend its service life. The F-1 has slowly been replaced by the Mitsubishi F-2 and upgraded F-4EJ "Kai" Phantom II's. In 2006 six F-1's were retired.
The 3rd Hikotai (Squadron) is assigned to the Northern Air Defense Force of the JASDF located at Misawa AB in Aomori Prefecture. The 3rd Hikotai is easily identified by their “kabuto” (helmet) insignia on their aircraft vertical tails. The shark mouth paint scheme was used by the 3rd Hikotai in the mid 1980’s when they were participating in a bombing exercise called “Senkyo” a TAC (Tactical Air Combat) Meet. In the mid 1980’s the F-1 still had the framed windshield used on the T-2.