Aerospace giant BAE Systems has completed the manufacture of the 150th F-35 rear fuselage and tail set at its military aircraft factory in Samlesbury, Lancashire.
The 150th aircraft set, known as AF070, is a Conventional Take Off and Landing variant destined for the US Air Force. AF070 will be married up with the rest of the aircraft at Lockheed Martin’s assembly facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
Jon Evans, Head of Production Delivery, F-35 at Samlesbury said: “AF070 is the 150th aircraft set to leave our production facility. The first 20 sets were development phase, the rest production aircraft. We are now producing aircraft sets at a rate of one every five days thanks to the multi-million pound investment we made in the Samlesbury site, so we’re well on the way to producing one set a day by 2018.
Mr Evans added: “If we continue as we have done over the past 10 years, not only do we sustain jobs in the long term for our 1,000+ workforce, but we help make a significant contribution to the UK economy through the work created in the 500 British-based companies involved in the programme. With a potential requirement of 3,000+ aircraft, the scale of this programme is huge.”
Collectively some 500+ UK companies are involved in the F-35 Lightning II programme, building 15 per cent of each F-35 produced. Over the next 40 years UK industry will continue to play a vital role in the F-35’s global production, follow-on development and sustainment, bringing strong economic benefits to the country and generating tens of thousands of jobs.
BAE Systems is responsible for the production of each and every rear fuselage and tails set. Along with manufacturing aircrafts sets for each of the three variants, the UK business also produces carrier wing tips for the Carrier variant and Nozzle Bay Doors for the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing Variant. BAE Systems also plays a key role in vehicle and mission systems, life support system and prognostics health management integration. BAE Systems Inc. in the US add further key capabilities to the F-35 portfolio in the areas of electronic warfare, advance apertures, advanced counter-measure systems, vehicle management and active inceptor systems.