The first F-35A stealth fighter jet of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) is expected to be commissioned to the Misawa base in Aomori Prefecture on Friday, Japanese media said quoting Defense Ministry officials Monday.
The fighter was assembled at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. group’s plant in Toyoyama, Aichi Prefecture, and so will be 37 others. The remaining four aircraft will come from the United States.
The aircraft is part of the ASDF 42 F-35A aircraft it is expected to procure in total. The first F-35A squadron is expected to be formed by the end of March next year by deploying nine more aircraft to the northeastern base.
The ministry plans to mount Norwegian-made 500 Km long-range cruise missiles on the F-35As, with the aim of using them for remote island defense and attacking enemy forces on the ground.
The cruise missiles on the F-35A will give Japan the ability to attack enemy bases and should give it an edge in regional muscle-flexing against China. Japan and China have intercepted each other’s aircraft over the sea of Japan amidst claims of intruding on each other’s airspace.