F-35 Lightning II - Programme overview

F-35 - Our global role
F35 at Marham
Here at BAE Systems, we have been part of the F-35 programme since its inception, bringing our expertise into the development, advanced manufacture, electronic warfare systems and sustainment of the world's largest defence programme.
Led by the US, with participation from the UK, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Denmark and Norway, this collaborative programme delivers a stealthy, multi-role attack aircraft capable of operating from land and sea to nations across the globe.
The programme delivers three variants of the aircraft, each working to meet customer's individual needs:
  •  F-35A - Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL)
  •  F-35B - Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL)
  •  F-35C - Carrier Variant
As a key partner we collaborate with the programme's prime contractor, Lockheed Martin to deliver around 15% of each aircraft, (excluding propulsion), playing a major role in the development, production and sustainment of each jet.
  • Design and development -  Our expertise in STOVL technology, developed from our Harrier programme, earned us our place on the F-35 and today we hold lead design authority on crucial capabilities including fuel, crew escape and life support systems.
  • Advanced manufacturing -  The aft fuselage of every F-35 is built in our advanced manufacturing and assembly facilities in the North West of England, with the horizontal and vertical tails and crucial components also manufactured in our UK and Australia facilities. However our role in production does not stop at the airframe as our US-based teams also deliver key electronic systems onboard the jet, including the electronic warfare suite, vehicle management computer and Active Inceptor System.
  • Electronic systems - We research, develop, integrate and field the most advanced electronic technologies to provide discriminating capabilities to the F-35.
  • Global sustainment - Across the globe, our F-35 teams in the UK, US and Australia, are leveraging our proven pedigree in combat aircraft sustainment to bring down costs as hundreds of aircraft enter service. We are already delivering maintenance, repairs, upgrades, training and technical support which are crucial to supporting warfighters across the world.


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