BAE Systems has completed the 250th aft fuselage for the F-35 Lightning II programme.The structure has been produced at BAE Systems’ advanced manufacturing facility in Samlesbury, Lancashire, where the Company employs around 1,500 people on the programme.
Manufactured on the Company’s state-of-the-art integrated assembly line, the section will be equipped and rigorously tested. Once this is complete, the fuselage will be transported to Lockheed Martin’s final assembly facility in Fort Worth, Texas, where it will be integrated with the rest of the aircraft.
Jon Evans, Head of F-35 Lightning II Production Delivery for BAE Systems, said: “Completion of the 250th aft fuselage of the F-35 Lightening II demonstrates the progress we have made and underlines our ability to deliver to the programme. Every part we produce not only benefits our own business and workforce, it also helps create work for 500 UK-based supply chain companies involved in the programme.”
The assembly facility at Samlesbury is presently undergoing a 4,500m² expansion which is due to be completed by January 2017. When the new facility is complete, it will be capable of manufacturing 160 aircraft sets per year, an increase of more than 150% from current levels.
The expansion will also provide more capacity, including larger areas for the paint shop and sub-assembly activity.
BAE Systems is producing the aft fuselage for every F-35 Lightning II and also manufactures vertical and horizontal tails for the programme.