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First Japanese-built F-35A unveiled

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AX-5, the first Japanese-assembled F-35A was unveiled in Nagoya Japan on 5 June 2017. Photo: Thinh Nguyen, Lockheed Martin

NAGOYA, JAPAN (BNS): AX-5, the first Japanese-assembled F-35A was recently unveiled at a ceremony held at Nagoya, Japan.

The Japan F-35 FACO is operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (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, Lockheed Martin said in a statement. 

The ceremony held on Monday highlighted the strong partnership between the Japanese Ministry of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense, MHI and Lockheed Martin.

"Seeing the first Japanese built F-35A is a testament to the global nature of this program," said Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 Programme 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," he said.

The Japanese Ministry of Defence competitively selected the F-35A as the JASDF's next-generation air defence fighter in December 2011, with a Foreign Military Sales programme 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 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO), Nagoya, in Japan.

The F-35 Lightning II is a next-generation fighter, which combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility equipped with advanced mission systems.

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