Japan pays $33 million more for each locally built F-35A stealth fighter aircraft

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Japan pays $33 million more for each locally built F-35A stealth fighter aircraft
Senior leaders of Japan’s Ministry of Defense, U.S. Forces Japan, Pacific Air Forces and Lockheed Martin gather in a Japan Air Self-Defense Force hangar at Misawa Air Base, Japan, for the commemorative ceremony welcoming the first operational F-35A Lightning II to JASDF’s 3rd Air Wing, Feb. 24, 2018. The F-35A is the second assembled at Mitsubishi’s facility in Nagoya, Japan. Regional leaders from Misawa City and Aomori Prefecture also attended the ceremony.

The price of each F-35A depends greatly on the foreign exchange rate of each fiscal year and the difference in procurement methods between importing completed F-35s from the U.S. and assembling F-35s in the Japanese FACO facility

According to Jane’s, Japan is paying an extra $33 million to assemble a F-35A at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) final assembly and check out (FACO) facility in Nagoya, more than importing the same aircraft from the U.S.

The publication quoted a Japanese defense official as saying that price of each jet “depends greatly on the foreign exchange rate of each fiscal year [and] the difference in procurement methods between importing completed F-35s from the US and assembling F-35s in the Japanese FACO facility.”

The official explained that in fiscal year 2012 when Japan first ordered the F-35 through the import of completed aircraft the exchange rate was JPY81 per USD1, and that this resulted in the unit cost of imported F-35s reaching JPY9.6 billion (or USD90.1 million at constant 2018).

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) has ordered 42 F-35As, with the initial four aircraft to be imported from the United States – the first of which was handed over to the force in late 2016. The remaining 38 F-35As are to be assembled and delivered from the FACO facility. The first of these aircraft was rolled out in June 2017.

The F-35A is the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant of the fifth generation stealth aircraft.

However as we have previously reported JASDF intends to replace some aging F-15Js with the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant and defense officials are mulling the exact number to buy in the next Medium Term Defense Program.

The Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) is barred from deploying military aircraft to Shimochijima airport, which has the longest runway in the Ryukyu Islands. Therefore, defense officials are thinking of using the F-35B at airports with shorter runways.

F-35A print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

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