06 October, 2015 by James Drew – FG
Washington DC - Northrop Grumman has built the first F-35 centre fuselage destined for Japan’s domestic joint strike fighter assembly plant, operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).
The company says the centre fuselage is the core of AX-5, Japan’s fifth example, and will become the first to enter Japan's Nagoya final assembly and checkout plant instead of prime contractor Lockheed Martin’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas. “It is the 207th centre fuselage that the company has produced at its Palmdale site, and the 30th such unit delivered this year,” the company said in a 4 October statement. “[MHI] will perform final assembly and checkout of the Japanese F-35As. The process includes mating the centre fuselage to the forward fuselage/cockpit and wings produced by Lockheed Martin, and the aft fuselage produced by BAE Systems.”