Wisconsin ANG tapped to escort first Japanese-built F-35A
By Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase, 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 10, 2017
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
A Defense Contract Management Agency government flight representative landed the first Japanese-made F-35A Lightning II fighter jet on Misawa AB's runway, Nov. 2.
Maj. Elijah Supper piloted the brand-new aircraft from the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Komaki South F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out facility, and was quickly joined by two F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from the 115th Fighter Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard, there to escort the new jet across the Pacific.
“This F-35 is one of the most clean and well-built aircraft I have ever seen,” Supper said. “The Japanese take great pride in this aircraft and have ensured it’s made to the highest standard."
Although the aircraft is a Japan Air Self-Dense Force-owned jet, it is required to go through final function tests in the United States to ensure all future F-35A's produced in Japan are up to standard.
To ensure the jet arrives securely in the United States, Supper stopped here to undergo safety checks on the F-35A before flying across the ocean.
"After our final inspections, the JASDF will roll out the F-35 in their fleet," explained Supper. "This will only further enhance our strong bilateral ties, allowing us to win future wars.”