BAE Systems has delivered the 1,000th F-35 Lightning II fuselage to Lockheed Martin in a major milestone in the development of the iconic aircraft.
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The 1,000th fifth-generation fighter rear fuselage was sent to Lockheed Martin for the F-35 on 7 February, more than a decade since the first fuselage was delivered in 2005.
More than 1,500 employees at the company’s facilities in Samlesbury, Lancashire, produce the rear fuselage for every F-35 in the global fleet.
BAE Systems Air group managing director Cliff Robson said the company has held a celebration for the 1,000th delivery.
“This is a significant moment for everyone involved in the program and a testament to the highly-skilled workforce we have in the North West of England,” he said.
“Our role on the F-35 program is another example of how we make a substantial contribution to the local and national UK economy and help to deliver capability which is critical for national security.”
Lockheed Martin vice-president and general manager of the F-35 program, Bridget Lauderdale, said the F-35 is operated by the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, and air forces across the world.
“The F-35 program powers economic growth and prosperity for the UK injecting approximately £41billion* into the UK economy and supporting more than 20,000 jobs in the UK supply chain, many of those based in the North West,” she said.
“With more than 500 companies in our UK supply chain, we’re proud of the role that our partnership with BAE Systems has in delivering the world’s most advanced aircraft for the UK and 17 other allied nations.”
BAE Systems has been involved in the F-35 program since its inception and plays key roles across the development, manufacture, and sustainment of the aircraft.
The F-35’s global program of record amounts to more than 3,000 F-35s into the future and delivers to program’s 17 customers.
BAE Systems Air, senior vice-president for US Programmes, Susan Addison, said work on the program will continue at BAE Systems’ advanced manufacturing hub at Samlesbury for many years to come.
“This is an important milestone for our business and demonstrates both the expertise of our people and their commitment to delivering for the F-35 program,” she said.
“The roles we play today are underpinned by a world-class manufacturing pedigree and industrial know-how in the UK, which has been developed through decades of cutting-edge experience in combat air programs.
“We are proud of what we do for our customers and the air forces who help keep us safe.”