Japan reconsiders decision to discontinue local assembly of F-35s

13 December 2019

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) has indicated a possible U-turn on its decision earlier this year to discontinue local assembly of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft and instead focus on providing localised maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capability.

The MoD’s Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency (ATLA) told Jane’s on 13 December that it is considering affordable methods of future production and maintenance of F-35s in Japan. “We are continuing to look into less expensive ways,” a spokesperson from ATLA said. The spokesperson added that “no decisions” regarding the future sourcing of Japan’s F-35s have been taken.

The ATLA spokesperson’s comments came shortly after Japan’s Nikkei financial newspaper reported that the MoD wanted to continue local assembly of F-35s in Japan after contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) successfully “revamped” its assembly processes to reduce costs.

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