Log in to use our free company, program and sector update tracker feature.

Front page

Technicians at the company's Palmdale Manufacturing Center guide the first assembly for the plane's center fuselage, an all-composite air inlet duct, into a special tooling structure called a jig

Northrop Grumman begins producing first international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has begun producing the center fuselage for the first international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an F-35B short take off, vertical landing (STOVL) variant for the United Kingdom designated BK-1. The center fuselage is the core structure around which the F-35 aircraft is built.

The assembly process began Oct. 26 at the company's Palmdale Manufacturing Center with the loading of an all-composite air inlet duct into a special tooling structure called a jig. This first assembly process, one of approximately 18 major steps in assembling an F-35 center fuselage, consists of attaching metal frames around the duct. The frames serve to brace and position the duct properly within the center fuselage.

"Jig loading the BK-1 center fuselage for the United Kingdom's first F-35 demonstrates that the program is delivering on its promise to produce a fifth generation, multi-role fighter that meets the common air combat requirements of the U.S. and its allies," said Mark Tucker, vice president and F-35 program manager for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "Through a disciplined approach to managing costs and engineering changes, we're continuing to reduce program risks, which will help the F-35 industry team put jets on the ramp on or before the initial operational need dates of our international partners."

Tucker noted that the company had started assembling the BK-1 center fuselage three days sooner than the date indicated by the F-35 program's master schedule.

Northrop Grumman is a principal and founding member of the F-35 industry team led by Lockheed Martin. To date, the company has delivered 25 center fuselages -- 19 for the system development and demonstration phase, six for the low rate initial production (LRIP) phases of the program. BK-1 is being produced as part of LRIP3. The program is scheduled to produce 138 F-35Bs for the United Kingdom.

Final assembly of all F-35 jets is performed by Lockheed Martin at a facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The process includes mating a Northrop Grumman-built center fuselage to an aft fuselage produced by BAE Systems, and the forward fuselage/cockpit and wings produced by Lockheed Martin.

Northrop Grumman is responsible for the design and production of center fuselages for all three variants of F-35 aircraft: conventional takeoff and landing; short takeoff, vertical landing; and the carrier variant. The F-35 Lightning II program expects to build more than 3,100 aircraft.

As a member of the F-35 global industry team, Northrop Grumman is central to the development, production and support of the F-35 Lightning II. The company designed and produces the aircraft's center fuselage, radar and other key avionics including electro-optical and communications subsystems; develops mission systems and mission-planning software; leads the team's development of pilot and maintenance training system courseware; and manages the team's use, support and maintenance of low-observable technologies.

Press release issued by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems on October 30, 2009


 Contact details from our directory:
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Airframer
BAE Systems plc Airframer
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Airframer


 Related aircraft programs:
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II


 Related directory sectors:
Airframe Assemblies

Enhanced listings:

Beckwood Press
Your single source for aerospace forming equipment. Manufacturer of Triform Sheet hydroforming presses.

United Performance Metals
A global distributor and processor of titanium products for over 40 years, and a leading supplier to the aerospace industry

USA Borescopes
USA Borescopes is a global supplier of world class visual inspection equipment. We are the one stop source for aviation professionals.

Samuel, Son & Co.
Looking for a quality metals supplier? Samuel can provide Aircraft Quality metals that meet Commercial and Military specifications

MW Industries, Inc
Design and manufacture springs, fasteners and related products for aerospace including: engine components, flight controls, propulsion, landing gear, interiors, avionics, and space exploration vehicles.

See our advertising tariff.


data pages remaining in monthly quota for non-subscribers

© Copyright of Airframer Limited, operated under licence by Stansted News Limited 2016. Terms & Conditions of reading.