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First Japanese-built F-35A unveiled
AX-5, the first Japanese-built F-35A. © Lockheed Martin

First Japanese-built F-35A unveiled

The first F-35A assembled in Japan has been officially unveiled at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Final Assembly and Check Out facility in Nagoya.

The first Japanese-assembled F-35A was unveiled on 5th June at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Komaki South F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility in Nagoya. The Nagoya FACO is one of two such facilities outside the U.S., alongside the Cameri FACO in Italy. The first Italian-built F-35B rolled out in May.

The aircraft unveiled in Nagoya, AX-5, is Japan’s fifth F-35A. The first four JASDF F-35As were previously delivered from Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, production facility. Subsequent deliveries of 38 F-35A aircraft will come from the FACO in Japan. 

The Japan F-35 FACO is operated by MHI with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin and oversight from the U.S. Government.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense selected the F-35A as the next-generation air defence fighter for the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) in December 2011, with a Foreign Military Sales programme of record of 42 F-35As. JASDF pilots are currently in training at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

The Nagoya FACO has also been designated the North Asia-Pacific regional heavy airframe Maintenance Repair Overhaul & Upgrade (MROU) facility for the F-35.

More than 220 operational F-35s have been built and delivered worldwide to date.

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