The first Japanese assembled F-35 was unveiled at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries facility in Japan today.
The Japan F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility is operated by MHI with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin and oversight from the US Government.
Approximately 200 people attended the ceremony including Japanese and United States government and defence industry leaders.
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 according to a press release from Lockheed Martin.
Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 Programme Executive Officer said:
“Seeing the first Japanese built F-35A is a testament to the global nature of this program.
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 Defence selected the F-35A as the JASDF’s next-generation 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.