BAE Systems, the UK headquartered defence and security company, is a principle sub-contractor on this F-35 Lightning II programme. Cutting edge in every respect, the F-35 Lightning II is a stealthy, multi-role, all-weather attack aircraft which can operate from land and sea.
Led by Lockheed Martin, it is the world's largest single defence programme - a truly collaborative project which also involves partner Northrop Grumman.
BAE Systems, at its facility in Samlesbury, Lancashire, leads on several areas of workshare for the F-35 programme, including manufacture of the aft fuselage, vertical and horizontal tails.
It is also responsible for a number of onboard systems including the fuel systems, crew escape, life support, prognostic health management integration and UK aircraft carrier integration support.
When it reaches peak rate production in 2016, the 1,200 workers at BAE Systems’ Samlesbury site will be producing one aircraft set each day for shipment to Lockheed Martin’s final assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas. This is a scale of production normally associated with commercial aircraft manufacture, athough the F-35 is a much more complex and advanced product.
BAE Systems also has an integral role in the F-35 integrated test force based in Patuxent River, Maryland. More than 30 BAE Systems’ employees are based there, including two test pilots, supporting the flight test programme.