The Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) officially welcomed its first operational F-35A during a deployment ceremony at Misawa Air Base on 24th February.
The Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) officially welcomed its first operational F-35A during a deployment ceremony at Misawa Air Base on 24th February. The aircraft arrived at the base on 26th January following final functional tests in the U.S..
In the upcoming Japanese fiscal year, it will be joined by nine more aircraft to create the first F-35A squadron as part of the JASDF’s 3rd Air Wing.
The aircraft, designated AX-6, is the second F-35A assembled at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ F-35 Final Assembly & Check-Out (FACO) facility in Nagoya, Japan and is the first to be assigned to the JASDF’s 3rd Air Wing.
Japan has ordered a total of 42 F-35As. The first four aircraft were assembled at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, and delivered to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where JASDF pilots and maintenance crews are undergoing training. Japan’s fifth F-35A, designated AX-5, was the first assembled in Nagoya and was flown to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, for Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (EEE) certification, before it joins the JASDF F-35A training fleet at Luke Air Force Base.
The JASDF F-35A is not the first F-35 to arrive in Japan. Twelve USAF F-35As are currently deployed at Kadena Air Base in Japan for a six-month rotation, while 16 USMC F-35Bs are deployed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.
To date, more than 265 F-35 aircraft have been delivered to U.S. and international customers and more than 180 are in world-wide production.