BAE begins expansion work ahead of F-35 aircraft production

By Dean

22 Dec 2015

BAE Systems has begun work on a major extension to its state-of-the-art F-35 manufacturing facility in Samlesbury, to prepare the site for a significant ramp-up in production of the international fifth generation multi-role combat jet.

The 4,500m² expansion follows the UK Government’s recent commitment to 138 F-35 Lightning II STOVL variant aircraft for the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. The Government is also accelerating procurement of the aircraft, making 24 available on the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales aircraft carriers by 2023.

Cliff Robson, senior vice-president for the F-35 Lightning II programme at BAE Systems, said: “The further extension to the site signals another important milestone in the F-35 programme and demonstrates BAE Systems’ readiness to meet the challenge of increased production rates.

The planned expansion will provide more space for the aircraft tail assembly lines, test facilities and facilities to marry-up the two halves of each rear fuselage. It will also see redevelopment of around 1,500m² of existing floor space to provide more capacity, including bigger areas for the paint shop and sub-assembly activity.

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