BAE Systems has delivered the 500th aft fuselage of the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft to Lockheed Martin from its production facilities in Samlesbury, Lancashire in UK.
The delivery was marked by a visit to the facility by the United States’ Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Robert “Woody” Johnson. He met with employees producing the aft fuselage, horizontal and vertical tails of the jet which is operated by both the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Air Force.
BAE Systems’ Samlesbury facility is where the aft fuselage of every F-35 Lightning II is produced. Across its global enterprise, BAE Systems deliver up to 15% of every F-35 built and has a vital role in the ongoing development and sustainment of the aircraft for customers across the globe.
“Combining incredible stealth with supersonic speed, the F-35 is a game changer which will play a vital role in America and Britain’s collective defense for decades to come. The programme is led by prime contractor, US firm Lockheed Martin, with BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman making up its principal industry partners.”
Ambassador Johnson was joined on the tour by Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems Chief Executive, Chris Boardman, Group Managing Director for Air, and Tom Fillingham, Senior Vice-President of the US Programmes business which leads BAE Systems Air Sector’s role in the F-35 programme.
Charles Woodburn said: “It was an honour for us to host the Ambassador and show him the unique capabilities BAE Systems’ people bring to the F-35 every day. We secured our place on the programme through our engineering expertise and world-class manufacturing, but it is the ability, commitment and passion of our people across the world that continues to keep us at the heart of the programme.”
“Delivering the 500th aft fuselage of the aircraft is a major milestone for us, and we know by continuing to deliver we will maintain our place on the programme and our strong relationship with the US.”
Greg Ulmer, F-35 Executive Vice President and General Manager at Lockheed Martin, said: “Lockheed Martin is proud to partner with the UK and our industry partners to design, build and sustain the world’s most advanced fighter jet. In addition to delivering unmatched capability for defence forces, the F-35 is strengthening global ally and industry partnerships, while driving economic growth. BAE Systems’ 500th aft fuselage delivery is a significant milestone for the program and another demonstration that the F-35 enterprise is ramping up production, improving efficiencies and reducing costs to meet growing demand.”