Japan rolled out its first F-35A Lightning II Friday at a ceremony attended by senior Japanese and US officials at Lockheed Martin’s Forth Worth, Texas, assembly facility. With the initial aircraft, AX-1, on the stage in the background, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson called the event an “important milestone for the special relationship between the United States and Japan.” Hewson said that three more F-35s for Japan would be made in Fort Worth, to be followed by another 38 that would be made in Mitsubishi’s final assembly and checkout facility in Nagoya, Japan. “The F-35 will be the treasure of Japan,” said State Minister of Defense Kenji Wakamiya. “The F-35A will be the engine that moves our strong alliance forward,” added Gen. Yoshiyuki Sugiyama, Chief of Japan’s Air Self Defense Force.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.