F-35 Factories In Italy, Japan Are Reopening After Closing for Coronavirus

By Marcus Weisgerber

March 17, 2020

Both of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter assembly plants outside the United States are expected to be up and running by Wednesday after brief coronavirus-related shutdowns.

Leonardo’s final-assembly-and-checkout plant in Cameri, Italy, closed Monday and Tuesday for “deep cleaning and sanitization,” a person familiar with the F-35 program said Tuesday. That assembly plant is expected to reopen on Wednesday.

And Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ F-35 plant in Japan reopened this week after being closed last week, the person said. 

Meanwhile the Lockheed Martin factory in Fort Worth, Texas, which builds F-35s for the U.S. military and most overseas customers, has not been affected by COVID-19, which has shuttered businesses and prompted firms across the United States to allow some employees to work from home.

There’s been no significant impact to production or supply chain at this time,” the person familiar with the program said on the condition of anonymity.

In an emailed statement, Lockheed Martin, the lead F-35 contractor said: “As we monitor global developments we continue to use best practices to mitigate risks related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), while supporting the critical missions of our customers.”

Lockheed Martin has been urging employees potentially exposed to COVID-19 to work remotely and self-quarantine. 

Related: Defense Firms Limit Travel, Adapt As Coronavirus Spreads

Related: F-35 Factory in Japan Shuts Down Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Related: The Prognosis: Latest News on Coronavirus & National Security

By Marcus Weisgerber // Marcus Weisgerber is the global business editor for Defense One, where he writes about the intersection of business and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for more than a decade, previously as Pentagon correspondent for Defense News and chief editor of Inside the Air Force. He has reported from Afghanistan, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, and often travels with the defense secretary and other senior military officials.

March 17, 2020