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Japan Air Self-Defense Force's 5th Generation Fighter

The F-35 Lightning II is designed and built to counter the most advanced threats – making it a perfect fit for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).

Program Stats

As a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) participant, the JASDF has an established program of record of 147 F-35 Aircraft, consisting of 105 F-35 A models and up to 42 F-35 B models. Japan is acquiring the most F-35s of any international customer.

Economic Impact

Japanese industry, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Mitsubishi Electric Company (MELCO) and IHI Corp. contribute to F-35A production in Japan. The three companies provide the F-35A Final Assembly and Checkout (FACO), production of Mission Systems radar and EODAS components, and F135 engine component production and FACO, respectively.

Komaki South FACO

Lockheed Martin and MHI partnered together to stand up the Komaki South FACO facility for the F-35 Lightning II in Nagoya, Japan.

The Japanese FACO facility performs the final assembly and check-out of F-35A aircraft to be delivered to the JASDF. Japan’s F-35Bs will be produced in the U.S. at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics production facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

Japan’s MRO&U Depots

To ensure the global readiness of the F-35 fleet well into the future, the F-35 Enterprise is standing up Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade (MRO&U) sites around the globe. With the Initial Depot Capability declared on time in June 2020, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is now conducting MRO&U activities for the North Asia region, providing component repair and maintenance for the F-35 fleet. Additionally, IHI Corp. is in the process of establishing its Regional F135 Engine Depot in Japan.

Base Locations

Japan operates the 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) and 301st TFS, part of the JASDF’s 3rd Air Wing, at Misawa AB.

Program Milestones
  • 2011: Japanese Ministry of Defense selected the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant as the next generation fighter of choice for the JASDF
  • 2016: First Japanese F-35, known as AX-1, took flight in Fort Worth, Texas
  • 2016: First Japanese aircraft was delivered to Luke AFB, Arizona
  • 2018: First JASDF F-35 was delivered to Misawa Air Base, Japan
  • 2018: Japan announced as part of the Mid-Term Defense Plan (MTDP) an additional 105 F-35 Aircraft to their program of record
  • 2019: JASDF declared Initial Operational Capability with the 302nd TFS
  • 2020: Initial Depot Capability was declared for the F-35 MRO&U Depot at Komaki
  • 2020: JASDF activated their second F-35A squadron, the 301st TFS