Northrop Grumman delivers fuselage for Japanese aircraft

Northrop Grumman Corp. has delivered the center fuselage for Japan’s first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a conventional takeoff and landing aircraft dubbed the AX-1.

Fort Worth’s Lockheed Martin Corp. facility will oversee final assembly and checkout of the first four Japanese F-35As, including the AX-1.

The remaining 38 Japanese jets (AX-5 through AX-42) will be completed at Japan’s new F-35 FACO facility in Nagoya, Japan.

“This on-time delivery marks another important step in the F-35 team’s drive to support and help fulfill our allies’ 21st century national security requirements,” said Brian Chappel, vice president and F-35 program manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, commenting in a news release.

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The center fuselage is a core structure of the F-35 aircraft. Northrop Grumman designed and produces the center fuselage for all three F-35 variants: the F-35A; the F-35B short takeoff vertical landing variant; and the F-35C carrier variant.

The AX-1 center fuselage is one of 42 such fuselages that Northrop Grumman is producing for Japan. It marks the 206th center fuselage that the company has produced at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in California and the 44th such unit delivered this Year, according to a company news release.

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