The US Department of Defense has announced long-lead funding for four Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighters destined for Japan, which will be built as part of the programme's eighth lot of low-rate initial production.

"It is notice of the official contracting action associated with long-lead requirements to support the first four of Japan's 42 aircraft," Lockheed says. The company was in February 2013 awarded a similar contract for 35 aircraft that will be built under the same production lot. There are long-lead item contracts outstanding for four more aircraft for Italy and five for Israel.

Israel and Japan are special cases, as they have ordered their aircraft via the US government's Foreign Military Sales mechanism. "Since these two countries procure aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process, they are announced separately," Lockheed says. "It's expected the long-lead funding for these aircraft will be announced in the near future."

The long-lead funding for the four Japanese aircraft is worth $40.2 million, according the DoD. The aircraft will be delivered in 2016, Lockheed says.

 F-35A quad - US Air Force

US Air Force

Japan will acquire an initial lot of four conventional take-off and landing F-35As

Source: Flight International