Two Japanese contractors will supply 24 components for the next-generation F-35 stealth fighters for the Air Self-Defense Force, which will push up the price by 50 percent, sources said.
The F-35 will be built mainly by Lockheed Martin Corp., with parts procured in the United States, Britain and other countries participating in the project. The aircraft will be assembled in the United States, Italy and Japan.
According to the sources, the U.S. government has authorized 24 components for the engine and radar system to be produced in Japan. The parts will account for about 10 percent of the aircraft's value.
Washington has said more Japanese-made parts may be incorporated, which would further push up the price.
The Defense Ministry plans to procure 42 F-35s under a contract with the U.S. government, including four ordered in fiscal 2012, and two to be ordered in fiscal 2013.
Japanese companies will begin supplying parts for the F-35s that were ordered in the current fiscal year.
The price for the two aircraft will be about 15 billion yen ($154 million) each, up 50 percent from the 10.2 billion yen for the U.S.-made models ordered in the previous fiscal year.
Japanese suppliers will manufacture parts only for the ASDF F-35s. A limited production volume will increase unit prices.
According to the Defense Ministry, IHI Corp. will manufacture 17 parts for engine fans and turbines, while Mitsubishi Electric Corp. will produce seven radar system components, including signal receivers.
The U.S. government has said Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and other Japanese contractors can supply parts for the rear fuselage, main wings and legs.
In selecting the ASDF’s next-generation fighter jet, the government proposed to the United States in 2011 that Japanese companies produce F-35 components to allow Japan to protect its domestic industry and acquire the latest technology.
The United States agreed to allow Japanese companies to supply a maximum of 40 percent of the components.
The Defense Ministry has earmarked 83 billion yen for installing facilities for assembling F-35s at an MHI factory in Aichi Prefecture and other related projects in fiscal 2013.
A senior ministry official said tens of billions of yen in additional investments will be required if Japanese contractors are to produce 40 percent of the F-35's components.
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