Lockheed Martin and Japan Celebrate Roll Out of Japan Air Self Defense Force’s First F-35A
FORT WORTH. Senior Japanese and US government officials joined Lockheed Martin September 23 to celebrate the roll out of the first Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) F-35A Lightning
II, marking a major milestone in Japan’s enhanced national defence and strengthening the future of the US-Japan security alliance.
T he ceremony was attended by more than 400 guests from both governments, militaries and defence industries. Kenji Wakamiya, Japan’s State Minister of Defense spoke at the event, saying, “With its low observability and network capability, the F- 35 is the most advanced air system with cutting-edge capability as a multi-role fighter. As the security environment surrounding Japan has become increasingly severe, because of its excellence, it is very significant for the defence of Japan to commit to acquiring the F-35 year by year. Given that the United States Government has designated Japan as a regional depot in the Asia-Pacific area, introduction of F-35A to Japan is a perfect example, enhancing the Japan-US alliance.”
Gen. Yoshiyuki Sugiyama, JASDF Chief of Air Staff, said, “The F-35A has remarkably advanced system. This highly sophisticated 5th generation fighter will bring a great development to air operations as a game changer. In integration with current JASDF assets, it surely promises to enormously contribute to not only the benefit of our national defence but also regional stability.”
The first four aircraft are built in Fort Worth and the remaining 38 aircraft will be built at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Final Assembly & Check-Out facility in Nagoya, Japan, where aircraft assembly is underway. Maintenance training for the first JASDF F- 35A technicians is underway at Eglin AFB, Florida, and the first JASDF F-35A pilots are scheduled to begin training at Luke AFB, Arizona, in November.