Lockheed Martin and Japan have marked the delivery of the country’s first F-35A aircraft in a ceremony held Friday to commemorate the national defense and security alliance between Japan and the U.S.
More than 400 guests from the government, military and defense industry sectors in both countries attended the F-35A rollout ceremony, Lockheed Martin said Friday.
“As the security environment surrounding Japan has become increasingly severe… it is very significant for the defense of Japan to commit to acquiring the F-35 year by year,” said Kenji Wakamiya, Japan’s defense minister.
He noted that Japan is a U.S. regional depot in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The security alliance between Japan and the United States has been a cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region for generations, and we are proud to continue that legacy of cooperation with the rollout of the first F-35A to the Japan Ministry of Defense and the Japan Air Self Defense Force today,” said Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO and an inductee into Executive Mosaic‘s Wash100 for 2016.
The U.S. foreign military sales program works to support Japan’s F-35 program that includes the acquisition of 42 F-35 conventional take-off and landing variants, with the first four built in Fort Worth, Texas, and the rest at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries‘ final assembly and checkout facility in Nagoya, Japan.
Lockheed said maintenance training for JASDF F-35A is in progress at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, while the first JASDF F-35A pilots are set to start their training in November.