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First Made in Japan F-35 rolls out

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 6, 2017
The first Japanese-assembled F-35A.

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.

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“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).

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18 Comments

  • Paul

    says:

    Does the mockup fly better than the real one?

  • Peter

    says:

    Why did Australia not get to build ours locally then? Some idiot in Canberra not ask the question?
    We have built our ARH Tiger and Taipan helicopters.

  • PAUL

    says:

    No mucking round there… Yeah since Oz is also going to be a maintenance hub & with a purchase of 72 airframes one has to wonder why things didn’t kick off again at Fishermans bend giving another highly motivated workforce extra jobs

  • G4george

    says:

    We built the Mirage fighters at the GAF under licence, why couldn’t the head nodders in Canberra get the nod from our closest most trusted ally for our latest front line fighter. I guess Washington does not view our relationship the same way.

  • BH

    says:

    If you recall there was a debate around whether we were going to buy the F35 or not. Then our first orders were for 2 then another 12 before finally committing to the full I think 72. So there was never a great deal of certainty around it all. Committing to building your own in country with a level of confidence that we displayed wouldn’t have been anywhere near feasible. Especially when you look at the added cost of building locally and setting up the infrastructure. It’s one thing to say we’ll be a maintenance hub but to commit early on to a build when we didn’t know what was going to happen would’ve been a potential recipe for disaster… Another potential disaster that we could do without..

  • Mick181

    says:

    Japan and italy have strong Aviation industries and have infrastructure in place to assemble advanced Fightter jets such as Typhoons (Italy) and F-2s(Japan) Australia does not, we would have to build that infrastructure from scratch.

  • Harry

    says:

    I am curious as to how much it cost to build… generally Japan’s Aviation industries build military planes to a substantially greater cost. I think an F-2 was 200-300% above an F-16 from memory.

  • sadbuttrue

    says:

    Mick181, we did have the facilities and people. They disappeared because a lack of back bone by previous governments. It’s amazing that Airbus Helicopters is still here.

  • Jasonp

    says:

    The Japanese and Italian FALs just do final assembly of components shipped from supplier all over the world. there isn’t a great deal of fabrication going on. And Harry is right – if you want to pay a ~100% premium for your fighters, by all means set up a FAL locally.

    The local Hornet production was done with a view to supporting and possibly even assembling US Hornets based in the region and regional foreign sales. Instead, the day after A21-57 was delivered in 1990, the Hornet line was shut down, the tooling was mothballed and subsequently sent back to the US or destroyed, and the workforce disbanded!

    Lesson learned…

  • Paul

    says:

    On top of all that u have high wages to pay and union strikes as well.Who would want to.Unions ruin everything.

  • Jasonp

    says:

    …until you need them because you’re being ripped off or unfairly treated by an employer.

  • PAUL

    says:

    Yes Australia wanted to produce Hornets & sell regionally to allies like NZ which opted for F16 then opted for the Strike wing scrap heap- so yes Canberra wouldn’t want to make that mistake again. Be great for NZ to have 12-20 F35’s but cant see it….

  • the road runner

    says:

    You guys are looking at it all wrong… Australia is supplying parts for the JSF pool of aircraft that will be produced worldwide..

    We are also a Maintenance hub for JSF threw out Asia …. We will be maintaining and troubleshooting anyu issues ..not just ours …but Korea’s/Singapore and visiting Airforces such as the USAF…. that’s where the real value is right there.. We will train up maintainer …that will value add to the RAAF and the Australian economy as a whole..

    A lot better than building knock down kits and paying a premium for them !

  • sean

    says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh , i think the Guys who publish this Mag Know why , and it ain’t anything to do with expected cost so much as Logarithmic Exponential growth on account of having to get the Yanks to reassemble air-frames we stuffed up .

  • Jasonp

    says:

    I doubt we’ll ever see any Korean or Japanese jets sustained in or by Australian industry…

  • Craig

    says:

    I think you will find that this project has been handled as an off the shelf procurement linked to the multi- year buy process for the US military and the aircraft purchased through FMS. Meanwhile large sums of money have been spent building new facilities at Williamtown including the lengthening of the runway so that the F35 will not need to use afterburner on takeoff in most cases.

  • Paul

    says:

    Jason’s,we have one of the best work conditions here in Australia.So many workers that r in unions use companies to rip them off as well.Work hard,do your job and go home.Some of these workers should spend some time in India and other countries and see how they get treated.We r still the lucky country.

  • Paul

    says:

    No Afterburner takeoffs!!!! Ripped off!!!!

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