June 19, 2013 / 9:06 PM / in 5 years

AIRSHOW-Lockheed, Mitsubishi sign deal for F-35 assembly in Japan

PARIS, June 19 (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp has signed a contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd to begin work on a final assembly and checkout plant (FACO) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in Japan, the top U.S. arms maker said on Wednesday.

Steve O‘Bryan, Lockheed vice president of the $392 billion F-35 program, announced the contract agreement at the Paris Airshow. He declined to give details of the value of the contract.

A similar facility built in Italy to assemble F-35 jets in Europe cost an estimated 800 million euros ($1.1 billion).

Lockheed spokesman Eric Schnaible said the contract authorized work on the plant from June until December.

He said a more comprehensive five-year contract was likely to be signed in late September or early October.

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