Marking a major milestone in Japan’s enhanced national defence and further strengthening the US-Japan security alliance, the first Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-35A LIGHTNING II was rolled out at Lockheed Martin’s production facility in Fort Worth, TX, on 23 September. The aircraft completed its maiden flight at Fort Worth on 24 August.
“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,” said State Minister of Defence Kenji Wakamiya at the event.
Japan is acquiring 42 F-35A aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales programme. The first four are being built at Fort Worth, while the remaining 38 will be built at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Final Assembly & Check-Out facility in Nagoya, Japan, where assembly is already under way. The first JASDF pilots are scheduled to begin training at Luke AFB, AZ, in November; JASDF technicians are already training at Eglin AFB, FL.
Picture shows JASDF Chief of Air Staff Gen. Yoshiyuki Sugiyama, addressing the roll-out ceremony at Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Lockheed Martin)