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EXCLUSIVE-Mitsubishi Heavy in talks to become F-35 supplier-sources

TOKYO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is in advanced talks to supply parts for the F-35 stealth fighter to Britain's BAE Systems, in what would be the first involvement of a Japanese manufacturer in a global weapons programme, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.

Any deal hinges in part on whether Tokyo will subsidize the manufacture of components for the rear fuselage of the fighter that Mitsubishi Heavy is seeking to supply as a subcontractor, the sources said.

An agreement to become a second-tier supplier for the Lockheed Martin F-35 would deepen Mitsubishi Heavy's ties to a project to deliver a fighter jet that the United States and allies plan to use for decades.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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