Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has unveiled the first indigenously assembled F-35A joint strike fighter at its Komaki South Final Assembly and Check-Out (FACO) facility in Nagoya, Japan.
Operated by MHI, the Japan F-35 FACO receives technical assistance from Lockheed Martin and oversight from the US Government.
F-35 programme executive officer vice-admiral Mat Winter said: “Seeing the first Japanese built F-35A is a testament to the global nature of this programme.
“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 multi-role fighter.”
In December 2011, the Japanese Ministry of Defense chose the F-35A as the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF) latest air defence aircraft.
Under a foreign military sales (FMS) programme, the ministry requested 42 units of F-35A jets, of which the first four were delivered to the JASDF from the Fort Worth, Texas, US, production facility. The rest of the aircraft will be delivered from the FACO in Japan.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics executive vice-president Orlando Carvalho said: “The skilled workers who achieved this milestone know firsthand the F-35's capability and how this aircraft will only strengthen the US-Japan security alliance, thereby building upon Japan's strategic vision to ensure the alliance remains strong for decades to come.”
The F-35 Lightning II aircraft features advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, advanced mission systems, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and sustainment.
Image: AX-5, the first Japanese-assembled F-35A launched in Nagoya, Japan. Photo: courtesy of Thinh Nguyen / Lockheed Martin.