With the formation of the JSDF after WW2, Japan’s military equipment, at least as far as air vehicles are concerned, mostly consisted of foreign designs. As military aviation headed more and more towards supersonic speeds in the second half of the 20th century, Japan was faced with the question of how to keep up with this rapid technological advancement.
In the mid 1960s, Japan started looking for a new supersonic jet trainer aircraft to replace the no longer suitable subsonic Fuji T-1. A decision had to be made between acquiring a once again foreign design, or develop an entirely new aircraft locally. In the end, the decision was made to develop and build a new domestically designed aircraft.
In 1967, three Japanese companies submitted designs for consideration, of which Mitsubishi’s was picked as the winner. In March 1968, the design was completed and work on constructing the prototype, designated XT-2, commenced. In early 1971, the prototype had been built and conducted its maiden flight later that year in July.
Following the successful maiden flight of the first prototype, three further were ordered. Of the four built prototypes, two were unarmed while the other two did receive weapons. These would serve as the base models for the subsequent production aircraft.
Having satisfied the requirements, the XT-2 entered production as the T-2. An order for 90 production aircraft was placed, but a total of 96 aircraft were built by the end of production in 1988, when prototypes and test models are also taken into account. The T-2 entered service with the JSDF in 1975 and remained in service up until 2006.