“This on-time delivery marks another important step in the F-35 team’s drive to support and help fulfill our allies’ 21st century national security requirements,” Brian Chappel, a vice president and F-35 program manager at Northrop’s aerospace systems business, said Tuesday.
Japan ordered up to 42 F-35A conventional-takeoff-and-landing aircraft in 2012 through a $10 billion foreign military sales agreement with the U.S. government.
Lockheed will integrate the first aircraft, also known as AX-1, for Japan and the succeeding three units at a company-run final assembly and checkout facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
The remaining F-35As will be assembled at a FACO center in Nagoya, Japan.
Northrop designs and manufactures fuselage technology for the Lockheed-led Joint Strike Fighter program and has delivered 44 F-35 center fuselages during 2015.