Known as BF050, the milestone aircraft set is destined to join a fleet of 420 aircraft, 353 Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variants and 67 Carrier Variants (CV) for the U.S. Marine Corps. BF050 is a STOVL jet, the same variant which the UK has ordered.
The F-35 programme is set to deliver over 3000 aircraft to customers across the world. Since production of the rear aft and tails for each aircraft started in Lancashire in 2004, almost 200 aircraft sets have been produced of which BF050 is one of the latest off the line.
Ryan Pearce is a production team leader and former apprentice for the F-35 programme and was responsible for ensuring BF050 was produced and ready to ship, on time, to the final assembly line in Texas. “Reaching milestones like this gives the whole team a real sense of pride. We’ve delivered nearly 200 aircraft sets whilst at the same time constantly looking to improve the way we do things so that we deliver the quality and value that the programme demands. Knowing that we’re responsible for making the back end of around 3000 advanced fighter jets that will be flying all around the world is pretty cool.”
The US are the largest single customer for the F35 with the US Air Force set to buy 1763 F35A Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft and the US Marine Core 340 STOVL jets and 80 F35C Carrier variants in total.