BAE Systems has delivered the 1,000th aft fuselage section about 18 years after F-35 production began in 2005. (BAE Systems)
The final assembly of the 1,000th Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has begun, with BAE Systems announcing the delivery of the aft fuselage section on 7 February.
BAE Systems announced the milestone delivery from its Samlesbury facility in the North of England, noting that it came about 18 years after it shipped the first aft fuselage to Lockheed Martin in 2005.
As one of the three primary partners in the programme alongside Lockheed Martin (forward fuselage and prime contractor) and Northrop Grumman (centre fuselage), BAE Systems is responsible for producing the aft fuselage section across all three F-35 variants. Its expanded plant at Samlesbury is capable of turning out 160 aircraft sets per year.
The Joint Program Office (JPO) recently agreed on lots 15–17 of F-35 production for the US Department of Defense (DoD), international partner, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. The international programme comprises Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.