U.K. Suppliers Help Drive F-35 Program Forward
From the beginning of the F-35 program, the United Kingdom industrial partners have played a key role in getting the F-35 off the ground and securing its future for decades to come. Today, U.K. suppliers are making significant contributions to the program that continue to drive the F-35 program forward and yield positive economic and industrial results for the U.K.
The U.K. industry’s role in the F-35 program is significant, with U.K. companies producing 15 percent of every one of the more than 3,000 F-35s on the program of record. The F-35 program will support more than 24,000 highly skilled jobs in the U.K. over the next two decades, further sparking economic growth and bolstering U.K industry’s role in developing the 5th Generation fighter.
The U.K. has been a driving force behind the F-35 program, and its economy and industry continues to benefit from the skills and investment in the F-35. BAE Systems’ aft fuselages, Rolls-Royce’s Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) LiftFan for the F-35B variant and Selex’s Electro-Optical Targeting System are just some of the mission-critical components provided by hundreds of U.K. companies involved in the program.
“The F-35 program is reliant on this strong and reliable industrial base which will secure leading-edge jobs for decades to come,” said Michael Demetz, program manager for the F-35 U.K. program. “The U.K. industry’s contributions are foundational to the long-term success of the F-35 Program.”
The future of the F-35 program in the U.K. shows significant growth and promise not only for F-35 parts manufacturers, but for the industry members who are working to prepare the U.K.’s facilities for the arrival of the Royal Air Force’s and Royal Navy’s F-35s.
Currently in the U.K., work is underway at RAF Marham in Norfolk, which will be the home of the UK’s F-35Bs, to prepare the infrastructure required to support a 5th Generation fleet. Key improvements include a new integrated training center, logistics operating center, maintenance and final finishes facility as well as the addition of renewed runways, and new and refurbished taxiways. Work is also underway to prepare the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers for the first flight trials with the F-35, which will take place in 2019.
“In the case of the F-35 programme, the security benefits and the economic benefits go hand in hand,” said Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Defense Procurement at the U.K. Ministry of Defence during a 2013 speech. “The UK aerospace industry is making a significant contribution to the whole global programme.”
At the Royal International Air Tattoo air show, the U.K. public will have the opportunity to get an up-close look at the multirole fighter that its industry has played an important role in producing – the aircraft that that signals the next leap in the U.K.’s defense capabilities.