The First Japanese-Built F-35A Unveiled At Nagoya Production Facility In Japan

Jun 05 2017 - 8 Comments

AX-5, the first Japanese-assembled F-35A was unveiled in Nagoya Japan earlier today.

The first F-35A assembled in Japan, AX-5 “79-8705”, was unveiled out of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Komaki South F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility on Jun. 5.

Just like the Italian F-35 FACO in Cameri, the Japan F-35 FACO is operated by a local aerospace company, MHI. with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin and oversight from the U.S. Government.

According to a LM release, approximately 200 people attended the ceremony including Japanese and United States government and defense industry leaders.

“Seeing the first Japanese built F-35A is a testament to the global nature of this program”, said Vice Adm. 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 selected the Joint Strike Fighter as the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s next-generation air defense fighter in December 2011, with a Foreign Military Sales program 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 FACOin Japan.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense selected the Nagoya FACO in 2014 for the North Asia-Pacific regional heavy airframe Maintenance Repair Overhaul & and Upgrade (MROU) facility.

The JASDF’s  low visibility “Hinomaru” roundel applied to the F-35A AX-5 and visible in top image (by Thinh Nguyen, Lockheed Martin) appears to be slightly more evident and recognizable than the one sported by the first JASDF F-35A (AX-1) that was rolled out at prime contractor Lockheed Martin’s Dallas-Fort Worth plant on Sept. 23, 2016 (see image below).

A screenshot from the video of the roll-out ceremony for the first JASDF F-35A on Sept. 23, 2016.

  • John Aceves

    I noted Italy just rolled out an F35 last month. It makes me wonder how design secrets are maintained.

  • leroy

    Russia’s Eastern Military District (MD) aviation unit is in for one helluva surprise in the coming years. The JASDF F-35s are gonna be crawling all over them. They’ll never know they are in the JSF’s crosshairs while being shadowed. Simply put – they have not a single fighter that can engage F-35. Especially not the PAK FA/T-50 which isn’t even a viable 5th gen aircraft.

    Some day F-35 will encounter this inferior PAK FA and the results for the less capable Sukhoi will be devastating. Of that I am 110% sure. I would have no fear whatsoever facing a Russian fighter if I was strapped into an F-35. Not a single Russian fighter could last more than 5 minutes against it. The RuAF understands this, and they are likely in a frenzy.

  • leroy

    I like the top photo’s roundel much better! Too bad Russian and Chinese pilots in combat against the Japanese F-35 will never get close enough to see it. They’ll simply explode in mid-air as if they had an internal explosion. Japan will soon own all of Asia’s airspace (along with South Korea and their 40+ F-35s. The South Koreans and Japanese have got to learn to like each other. There is no room for stoking past grievances).

  • Kim Chul Soo

    From those friendly folks that brought us Pearl Harbor. Amazing.

  • Ernest T. Bass

    A handup not a handout. Cool.

  • Pacemaker4

    No plans to fly it… no mention of its schedule?

  • Uniform223

    Cool beans. Now all we need is some kind of anime themed paint scheme for one of their F-35s. I wonder what is going on with their stealth fighter technology demonstrator. I haven’t seen or heard anything recent about it.

  • julius rosen

    Smart way to raise the cost by having duplicated assemblers. Idiots all