The security alliance between Japan and the United States has been a cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region for generations.

Playing a part in that alliance, and working in partnership with local businesses, Lockheed Martin delivers cutting-edge technologies and innovations to support the future prosperity of Japan and its communities.

The F-35 Lightning II program provides 5th generation fighter aircraft capability which will significantly enhance Japan’s ability to maintain air superiority for homeland and remote island defense. With the Final Assembly and Checkout Facility (FACO) in Nagoya now complete, Japan’s F-35 aircraft are being assembled and delivered in Japan. The program seeks to contribute to the growth of Japan’s aerospace industry by providing jobs, economic activity and more potential for innovation and introduction of new technologies.  Commercial as well as military helicopters are provided by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), while integrated missile defense systems offer a layered defense capability.

Our commitment to the region extends to the wider community to help develop the talent pipeline and encourage the engineers, innovators and scientists of tomorrow. Our first initiative in Japan, the Girls Rocketry Challenge, aims to strengthen Japan’s workforce of tomorrow by inspiring more women to become engineers, innovators and scientists in line with Prime Minister Abe’s national goals.

Working with our Japanese partners, we are committed to partnering with industry to shape best-value solutions that deliver low-risk, proven capability with high levels of local content, technology transfer and workshare.

Products and Capabilities for Japan

F-35 Lightning II

The F-35 Lightning II is designed and built to counter the most advanced airborne and ground-based threats.

The first of four F-35As for the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) was rolled out in Fort Worth, Texas in September 2016. The jets are based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where JASDF pilots and maintenance crews are undergoing training.

38 F-35As are being assembled at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility in Nagoya, Japan for delivery to Misawa Air Base, Japan.

The first of the F-35As assembled in Nagoya was flown to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, for Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (EEE) certification, before it will join the JASDF F-35A training fleet at Luke Air Force Base.

The second of the 38 F-35As to be assembled in Nagoya recently arrived at its first operational F-35A base in Misawa Air Base, Japan in February.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense selected the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant as the next generation fighter of choice for the JASDF in December 2011, following the F-X competitive bid process.

Japan's First F-35's First Flight
Japan's F2

F-2 Support Fighter

The F-2 Support Fighter is a multi-role, single-engine fighter aircraft produced for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). It was jointly developed in the mid- to late 1980s and jointly produced in the early 1990s by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and other Japanese and U.S. industries. The program remains a hallmark of trust, technology transfer and workshare between Japan and the U.S.

Based on the design of the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-2 is capable of both air-to-air and air-to-surface roles though it is optimized for the latter role, to protect Japan’s sea lanes. Many of the aircraft’s innovative systems, including the fly-by-wire flight control system and integrated electronic warfare system, were developed in Japan. The F-2 was also the first production fighter to be equipped with an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

In cooperation with MHI, Lockheed Martin helped Japan restore part of its F-2 fleet after eighteen JASDF F-2s based at Matsushima Air Base, Japan, were destroyed during a tsunami in March 2011. In 2015, the F-2 became the eighth aircraft platform to be equipped with Lockheed Martin’s Sniper® Advanced Targeting Pod.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, Mitsubishi Corp., and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have served the rotorcraft needs of the Japan Self-Defense Forces and commercial operators uninterrupted since 1953. Continuous production, partnership and cooperation enable MHI and Sikorsky to achieve engineering, manufacturing and quality excellence to meet Japan’s defense and security challenges.

More than 550 military helicopters have been produced for the Japan Self-Defense Forces under manufacturing license agreements with Sikorsky. Today’s operational aircraft include the UH-60J, UH-60JA and SH-60J/K fleets — based on Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk and Sea Hawk® helicopter family. Sikorsky also exported the MH-53E Sea Dragon to Japan in the 1990’s. Retired aircraft include the S-55 (utility), S-58 (transport), and the S-62 and S-61 (multi-role).

The SH-60J/K helicopter is operated for anti-submarine patrol; the UH-60J for search and rescue; and the UH-60JA variant for utility missions. MHI manufactures and maintains H-60 helicopters under a comprehensive Licensing Agreement with Sikorsky. MHI configures and maintains each variant for the Self-Defense Forces.

H-60 helicopters are renowned in Japan for saving lives. When the Kinugawa River burst its banks in Joso, Ibaraki Prefecture, following 2015’s Typhoon Etau, H-60 aircraft hoisted dozens of Japanese residents to safety trapped on rooftops and balconies by fast-rising floodwaters. A year earlier, H-60 aircraft quickly transported rescuers to Japan’s second highest volcano, Mount Ontake, which had erupted suddenly, endangering the lives of hikers on the ash-covered slope.


Aegis provides four of Japan’s Kongo-class destroyers and two Atago-class destroyers with advanced sea, air and undersea threat detection capabilities.


We’re proud to partner with MHI to assemble Japan’s PAC-3 missiles at MHI’s facility in Japan under a licensed production agreement.

P-3 Orion

Produced through a partnership with NEC Corporate in Tokyo, Japan uses the P-3 Orion as a tactical aircraft for coastline monitoring, reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare.

About Lockheed Martin’s STEM Education Program in Japan

Lockheed Martin sees education as a crucial investment for both business and society, and will continue working closely with our partners to enhance the collaboration between industry and educators to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in Japan.

Lockheed Martin provides sponsorship to the biannual National Model Rocketry Competitions as well as the Rocket Koshien, which feeds into the International Rocketry Challenge. It also provides three educational awards for the best female team at each of these events.

The Girls’ Rocketry Challenge, which launched in October 2016, aims to encourage female students to explore their curiosity in the STEM field, utilising model rocketry for a hands-on approach to scientific experimentation and practical application of theoretical knowledge outside of the classroom. The Girls’ Rocketry Challenge has expanded its reach from the Kanto region of Japan in the first cycle, to now include schools nationwide.

The program is run in partnership with the Japan Association of Rocketry, a non-profit organization that sets the industry standard for model rocketry in Japan with the support of Leave a Nest, a science education company that also runs workshops on model rocketry. In 2018, the program also welcomed Chiba Institute of Technology as a supporter, enabling GRC participants to receive further guidance in their learning journey in rocket science.