Japan commits to local F-35 production

janes.com -- Jul 31
The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) has confirmed plans to continue the local production of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

The move reverses a decision in late 2018 to cease local production at Japan’s final assembly and checkout (FACO) facility in Nagoya and instead focus on the localised maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) of F-35s. That move was previously prompted by the high cost of building the F-35s at the facility.

The spokesperson was speaking to Janes nearly three weeks after the United States government approved a potential USD23 billion deal to sell Japan an additional 105 F-35s.

This Foreign Military Sale means Japan will operate a total of 147 F-35s, becoming the second-largest operator of the aircraft in the world.

However, a spokesperson from the MoD told Janes that the new decision to continue building the aircraft at the Japanese FACO facility was influenced by the declining costs of producing the F-35 locally. Producing the aircraft locally, said the spokesperson, is now cheaper than importing the F-35 from the United States.

- janes.com