The first Japanese-assembled F-35A Joint Strike Fighter has been unveiled during a ceremony at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Komaki South facility near Nagoya on Monday.
Aircraft AX-5 is the first of 38 F-35As for the Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) to be assembled at the Komaki South F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility, which has also been selected by the US Department of Defense as the North Asia-Pacific regional heavy airframe maintenance repair overhaul and upgrade (MROU) facility for the aircraft.
Japan is buying 42 F-35As, the first four of which were assembled at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 final assembly line at Fort Worth, Texas.
“Seeing the first Japanese built F-35A is a testament to the global nature of this program,” said Vice Admiral Mat Winter, the newly-appointed F-35 Program Executive Officer.
“This state of the art assembly facility, staffed with a talented and motivated workforce, enables us to leverage industry’s unique talents and technological know-how to produce the world’s best multirole fighter.”
More than 220 operational F-35s have now been built and delivered which have collectively flown more than 95,000 flight hours.
A second international F-35 FACO has been established at Cameri, Italy (the first Italian-assembled F-35A rolled out in March 2015, the first Italian-assembled F-35B followed on May 5 2017).