Northrop Grumman has delivered the center fuselage for Japan's first F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) aircraft designated AX-1.
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 company said in a statement Tuesday.
Each F-35 receives an alphanumeric designation based on its variant type (A, B or C), the country for which it flies (e.g., F = U.S., K= United Kingdom, X = Japan), and sequence number of the jet.
The AX-1 center fuselage is one of 42 F-35 center fuselages that Northrop Grumman is producing for Japan. It is the 206th center fuselage that the company has produced at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence, and the 44th such unit delivered this year.
The first four Japanese F-35As, including AX-1, will undergo final assembly and checkout (FACO) at Lockheed Martin's F-35 facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The remaining 38 Japanese jets (AX-5 through AX-42) will be completed at Japan's new F-35 FACO facility in Nagoya, Japan.