Tuesday, March 19, 2013
M'bishi Heavy Eyeing F-35 Production At Aichi Plant
TOKYO (Nikkei)--Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (7011) may set up production facilities for the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter at its Komaki Minami plant in Aichi Prefecture, it was learned Tuesday.
The company is working toward finalizing the outline of the facilities for the Air Self-Defense Force's next flagship fighter jet.
The Air SDF decided in late 2011 to procure 42 F-35s. Mitsubishi Heavy, which has been tasked with assembling more than 30 of them, is looking to set up assembly, coating, testing and other facilities in multiple buildings.
Investment in the facilities is estimated to total tens of billions of yen. Production is slated to begin as early as 2016.
The recent easing of the long-standing ban on arms exports paved the way for Mitsubishi Heavy's planned new production facilities. They may also be used for maintenance of American military aircraft deployed in Japan.
The F-35 has been developed through an international joint effort led by major U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp.
(The Nikkei, March 20 edition)