During the 1980s the U.S. military wasn’t interested in an updated version of the F-16 so they passed on the opportunity. Japan was replacing some of their aging fleet and decided to develop the new F-16 Agile Falcon in cooperation with Mitsubishi and Lockheed Martin. Production began in 1996 with the first aircraft being delivered in 2000. The new aircraft was named the F-2 and soon earned the nickname "Viper Zero". Although the F-2 looks similar to the original F-16 it is larger in almost every aspect.
In June 2010 Mitsubishi F-2A 03-8557 c/n M1057 was delivered to the JASDF and in March 2011 was re-registered as 13-8557. In 2013 13-8557 represented the 3rd TFS at the TAC Meet at the Misawa AB painted as "Samurai Spirits". On October 5, 2014 13-8557 transferred to the 8th Wing/8th TFS based at Tsuiki AB since mid 2016. The 8th Wing’s 6th and 8th TFS’s make up the JASDF Western Air Defense Force. Prior to acquiring the F-2 the 8th TFS flew the F-4E Phantom II.