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Manufacturing continues to ramp up on F-35

F-35B Lightning II STOVL
BAE Systems has recently delivered the 50th F-35 rear fuselage and empennage (vertical and horizontal tails) to its partner Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas.

Tim Boness, Production Director F-35 explains: "50 down but over 3000 to go. It sounds like a drop in the ocean but we've come a long way since we started manufacturing back in 2004. You only need to look at the development of the Samlesbury site over the past few years and it's very clear that we're making a real investment in the future. We are ready to manufacture thousands more sets at our state of the art machining and assembly centre.

"With production orders now moving through at a rate of three per month and the US Air Force flying the aircraft for themselves there is a real buzz in the air. The goal for the 1200 employees on the F-35 programme at Samlesbury is to be ready to meet the peak rate production of one aircraft set a day in 2016. It's a production challenge on a size and scale normally associated with commercial aircraft but we have a much more complex and advanced product."

The investment doesn't stop at the gates of the Samlesbury site either, significant investment has been made right across the North West with new manufacturing facilities being built to support the programme around the region. Key suppliers include John Huddleston, Hyde, RLC and Wesco.

Investment at Samlesbury continues with a world leading machining facility officially opened in October 2010 and the first of two planned extensions of the F-35 assembly facility due to be occupied later this year.

Ref No: 112
Issued by:
BAE Systems, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6YU, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 384719 Fax: +44 (0) 1252 383947
24hr media hotline: + 44 (0) 7801 717739