F-35 Production Set to Quadruple As Massive Factory Retools

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spazsinbad

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Unread post07 May 2016, 23:00

LONG article without too much drivel - always a bonus with this author - just the facts ma'am - nothing but the facts.
F-35 Production Set to Quadruple As Massive Factory Retools
06 May 2016 Marcus Weisgerber

"...F-35 production is slated to hit full steam in 2019, and Lockheed Martin is reshaping its final assembly line to get ready. Not far from the nine assembly stations where the stealthy jets are coming together, wooden walls and plastic sheeting rise dozens of feet to the ceiling, blocking off large portions of the plant where new laser-leveled concrete is being poured. Lowered air pressure behind the screens helps keep dust and debris away from the sensitive airframes. Elsewhere, scaffolding is being erected for seven new assembly stations to come....

...By 2020, one year after the Fort Worth plant hits its full 17-jet-per-month stride, there will be more than 600 F-35s, including nearly 180 sent to U.S. allies....

...There’s already an international feel in Fort Worth. On Tuesday morning, a ceiling crane hoisted the center section of an Israeli jet from one assembly station to the next. Nearby, a robot drilled precise, laser-guided holes into the green wings of Norway’s eighth F-35. Farther south, Japan’s first F-35A and the U.K. Royal Air Force’s seventh F-35B slowly meandered their way northward. Simple printed cards in plastic sheets marked the Air Force’s 104th jet and the U.S. Marine Corps’ 55th F-35B.

That latter plane awaited its Pratt & Whitney engine and Rolls-Royce lift fan. Its outer panels had yet to arrive, exposing some of its 16 miles of cables and the white boxes that feed the jet’s cognitive electronic warfare suite. In a few weeks, it would be the 225th Joint Strike Fighter to roll off the line.

Remarkably Quiet
Despite its vast size, the plant is remarkably quiet. There is no riveting or hammering. The occasional warning buzzer sounds when parts of the jets are moved down the assembly line. Parts and tools are shuttled around on golf-cart-sized vehicles; employees ride bicycles because it’s faster than walking. To keep the tools properly calibrated, the temperature inside is always 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

All three F-35 variants are produced on this line, and by the same workers. The variants share only about 30 percent of their parts; the rest are variant-specific. For example, the wing on the Navy’s F-35, built to handle aircraft-carrier operations, is 40 percent larger than the wing on the Air Force’s conventional F-35A & the Marines’ vertical-landing F-35B. To accommodate the different wing sizes, special slats in the scaffolding slide in and out to fill in the gaps....

...The amount of time it takes to build a jet has come down steadily, said Eric Van Camp, Lockheed’s director of F-35 business development. It took about 160,000 labor hours to build the first F-35A in 2006. (The first F-35B took about 140,000 hours and the first F-35C took 130,000 hours.) But the most recent F-35A required only about 43,000 hours.

“There’s common learning that goes on between the variants,” Van Camp said.

And even as they prepare for full F-35 production, Lockheed and its partners are eyeing new manufacturing techniques that they hope could trim $10 million from each plane’s price tag, bringing it to $80 million by 2019. (The Pentagon says each one currently costs $100 million.)..."

Source: http://www.defenseone.com/technology/20 ... ls/128120/
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Unread post10 May 2016, 00:34

The key to increasing production will be the training of the additional employees at their workstations on the line. We would buddy up seasoned employees with the newbies and have both work the auto until the new ones were competent.
Once we had a trained new work force we would gradually split the shifts until an entirely new shift of employees were working on their own. This case in lieu of different production shifts it will be work stations. Hopefully they done their homework and have a plan. You can have your quality tank while increasing production if you're not careful.
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Unread post17 Aug 2017, 22:31

Lockheed Martin to hire 1,000 more workers for F-35 production in Fort Worth
By Stephen Carlson | Aug. 16, 2017 at 1:35 PM

Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin is planning to hire 1,000 workers for F-35 Lightning II fighter production at its plant in Fort Worth, Texas.

The company will hold a job fair on Aug. 29th seeking people skilled in electrical and structural assembly, aircraft mechanics and low-observable material coating. Low-observable or radar absorbent materials are a key part of the F-35s stealth design to avoid enemy radar detection...

https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2017/0 ... rd%20Brief
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Unread post18 Aug 2017, 03:04

zerion wrote:
Lockheed Martin to hire 1,000 more workers for F-35 production in Fort Worth
By Stephen Carlson | Aug. 16, 2017 at 1:35 PM

Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin is planning to hire 1,000 workers for F-35 Lightning II fighter production at its plant in Fort Worth, Texas.

The company will hold a job fair on Aug. 29th seeking people skilled in electrical and structural assembly, aircraft mechanics and low-observable material coating. Low-observable or radar absorbent materials are a key part of the F-35s stealth design to avoid enemy radar detection...

https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2017/0 ... rd%20Brief


I had no idea there was a large pool of un-employed people skilled in low-observable material coating.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post18 Aug 2017, 05:20

steve2267 wrote:I had no idea there was a large pool of un-employed people skilled in low-observable material coating.


Not sure what the requirements for LO coaters are; I'd imagine they want people with some sort of manufacturing background.
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Unread post18 Aug 2017, 13:14

So Fortworth is 17 F-35's a month, while Italian facility is 10 a year correct?
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Unread post18 Aug 2017, 14:45

steve2267 wrote:
zerion wrote:
Lockheed Martin to hire 1,000 more workers for F-35 production in Fort Worth
By Stephen Carlson | Aug. 16, 2017 at 1:35 PM

Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin is planning to hire 1,000 workers for F-35 Lightning II fighter production at its plant in Fort Worth, Texas.

The company will hold a job fair on Aug. 29th seeking people skilled in electrical and structural assembly, aircraft mechanics and low-observable material coating. Low-observable or radar absorbent materials are a key part of the F-35s stealth design to avoid enemy radar detection...

https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2017/0 ... rd%20Brief


I had no idea there was a large pool of un-employed people skilled in low-observable material coating.


Ooh, pick me, pick me! I'm unemployed and skilled in low-observable materials! Camouflage t-shirts count, right?
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archeman

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Unread post18 Aug 2017, 18:44

sunstersun wrote:So Fortworth is 17 F-35's a month, while Italian facility is 10 a year correct?


Unless there is a large shift in Euro orders, the Itailian FACO site plans produce only about 125 aircraft in total over a 15 year period, transitioning to a phase maintenance and upgrade facility.

On the other hand they are also very busy with major component construction (wings etc).

http://airheadsfly.com/2016/11/28/f-35- ... -pictures/
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Unread post18 Aug 2017, 19:23

white_lightning35 wrote:
steve2267 wrote:
I had no idea there was a large pool of un-employed people skilled in low-observable material coating.


Ooh, pick me, pick me! I'm unemployed and skilled in low-observable materials! Camouflage t-shirts count, right?


I have been known to employ creative methods in order to make my workmanship less observable.
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Unread post19 Aug 2017, 00:38

archeman wrote:
sunstersun wrote:So Fortworth is 17 F-35's a month, while Italian facility is 10 a year correct?


Unless there is a large shift in Euro orders, the Itailian FACO site plans produce only about 125 aircraft in total over a 15 year period, transitioning to a phase maintenance and upgrade facility.

On the other hand they are also very busy with major component construction (wings etc).

http://airheadsfly.com/2016/11/28/f-35- ... -pictures/



I could see a large shift, Poland, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Romania are all potential partners.

I'm pretty sure Poland already announced they're going to purchase it in the 2020's.
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Unread post19 Aug 2017, 18:18

sunstersun wrote:I'm pretty sure Poland already announced they're going to purchase it in the 2020's.


Poland is ambitious but constantly adjusting its defense procurement in a budget constrained world. The commitment to F-35 is more like a lack of purchases of other airframes recently, like the used F-16s that were mooted.
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Unread post19 Aug 2017, 19:46

talkitron wrote:
sunstersun wrote:The commitment to F-35 is more like a lack of purchases of other airframes recently, like the used F-16s that were mooted.


Correct.

It was one of those stories along the lines of:
- Def Min... will you commit to purchasing more F-16s.
- Well, the F-16s were very expensive, at the price we bought them at we might as well buy F-35s

It wasn't a commitment to anything rather a politician poo-pooing his predecessors decisions.

(The Poles paid roughly $70m per unit for their Vipers.... rising to $90m with interest. So if the Lightning drops the way it might, the Poles might consider taking a punt)
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Unread post31 Dec 2019, 01:52

End of year production video from Twitter

https://mobile.twitter.com/thef35/statu ... 9242684417

FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) delivered the 134th F-35 aircraft for the year today, exceeding the joint government and industry 2019 delivery goal of 131 aircraft.
One hundred and thirty-four deliveries represent a 47% increase from 2018 and nearly a 200 percent production increase from 2016. Next year, Lockheed Martin plans to deliver 141 F-35s and is prepared to increase production volume year-over-year to hit peak production in 2023...

https://news.lockheedmartin.com/2019-12 ... Commitment

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