The first Japanese-assembled F-35A was unveiled out of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Komaki South F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility on June 5. The Japan F-35 FACO is operated by MHI with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin.
Kenji Wakamiya, senior vice minister of defense; Gen. Yoshiyuki Sugiyama, Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) chief of staff; Lt Gen Jerry Martinez, commander, US Forces Japan and 5th Air Force; Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer; Vice Adm. Dave Lewis, Defense Contract Management Agency Director; Naohiko Abe, MHI’s senior vice president and Integrated Defense & Space Systems president, and Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, attended the milestone event.
‘Seeing the first Japanese built F-35A is a testament to the global nature of this program,’ said VADM Mat Winter, 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 multi-role fighter. The F-35 will enhance the strength of our security alliances and reinforce long-established bonds with our allies through training opportunities, exercises, and military-to-military events.’
The Japanese Ministry of Defense competitively selected the F-35A as the JASDF’s next-generation air defense fighter in December 2011, with a Foreign Military Sales program of record of 42 F-35As. The first four JASDF F-35As were previously delivered from the Fort Worth, Texas production facility. Subsequent deliveries of 38 F-35A aircraft will come from the FACO in Japan.