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News | June 9, 2017

First Japan built F-35 prepares for take off

By DCMA Japan

NAGOYA, Japan, June 9, 2017 — The first F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter assembled in Japan was unveiled during a ceremony here June 5.

The event marked the official acceptance by the Defense Contract Management Agency from Lockheed Martin and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as part of the foreign military sales process. After acceptance flights and additional testing, the aircraft will be delivered to the Japan Air Self Defense Force in August.

For DCMA Japan Commander, Navy Capt. Sean McDermott, the unveiling is just the beginning. “I am so proud of the entire DCMA Japan team,” he said. “Everyone pitched in to support the success the Japan JSF program is enjoying this week. The ceremony was exciting but the upcoming first flight is what we have all been focused on since we broke ground on the facility just over two years ago. Keep your fingers crossed for blue skies and an early delivery.”

The first test flight, scheduled to take place later this month, will complete the final assembly and check out procedures that were started in December 2015. DCMA’s surveillance process requires numerous inspections and tests to include four test and acceptance flights, two performed by Lockheed Martin pilots and two by DCMA pilots. These flights confirm airworthiness and safety of flight as well as verifying mission system specification compliance.

The foreign military sale to Japan includes four F-35A conventional take-off and landing fifth-generation stealth fighters produced stateside and another 38 aircraft built in Japan.

After delivery, DCMA’s mission will continue during depot level maintenance and future modifications for items included in the Japan F-35 letter of acceptance. The DCMA sustainment mission detailed in the LOA includes aircraft lifecycle oversight on the jet itself, F-135 engine, electronic warfare systems, command and control computers, software development and integration, spare parts, training, logistical support, U.S. government and contractor technical support services, and other equipment.

Japan’s Final Assembly and Check Out facility joins Italy’s Cameri plant as the second fully operational international F-35 production facility. Italy delivered the first internationally built F-35 in December 2015. DCMA’s administration of the F-35 program involves more than 1,500 active global suppliers, making it the largest aircraft program in size and complexity.