Fighter Jet News

F-35 Lightning II News

All major sections of first F-35 now in place

June 3, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The aft fuselage - the last major subassembly of the first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - has arrived at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth and is being readied for attachment to the aircraft’s center fuselage.

Workers at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, prepare to load the first F-35 aft fuselage into its assembly fixture on June 2.

BAE Systems recently completed manufacture of the component in Samlesbury, England, and shipped it to the Fort Worth plant, where it arrived on May 31.

"Again, the F-35 digital design and manufacturing process has produced an exceptional aircraft assembly, with all the hallmarks of precise fit and finish that we've come to expect on this program," said Bob Elrod, executive vice president and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program general manager. "We're proud of the F-35 team's accomplishments, particularly our BAE Systems teammates whose fine craftsmanship is evident in this crucial part of the airplane."

Workers will attach the aft fuselage section directly to the center fuselage on June 9, completing the union of the aircraft's four major subassemblies. The center fuselage, manufactured by Northrop Grumman, arrived at Lockheed Martin in early May. It was subsequently attached to the wing and forward fuselage, both produced by Lockheed Martin.