PALMDALE, Calif. --- Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered to prime contractor Lockheed Martin Company the first center fuselage of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for the Netherlands.
Northrop Grumman completed the center fuselage – the core structure around which the F-35 aircraft is built – at the company's manufacturing center in Palmdale, Calif. The unit now will travel to Lockheed Martin in Ft. Worth, Texas, where it will be integrated into an F-35A, a conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant of the aircraft, for the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
As a principal and founding member of the F-35 industry team led by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman is responsible for the design and production of center fuselages for all three variants of F-35 aircraft: CTOL, short takeoff, vertical landing (STOVL) and a carrier variant. This is the second such structure Northrop Grumman has constructed for an international customer. In December, the company delivered a STOVL variant for the United Kingdom.
"The completion of our second center fuselage for another international customer is evidence that the F-35 program is growing and maturing," said Duke Dufresne, sector vice president and general manager of the Strike and Surveillance Systems Division of Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "It's an important milestone and a sign of continued progress on the program."
In addition to producing the F-35 center fuselage, Northrop Grumman also designed and produces the aircraft's 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.
To date, Northrop Grumman has delivered 48 center fuselages, all on schedule. Final assembly of all F-35 jets is performed by Lockheed Martin, a process that includes mating the center fuselage to an aft fuselage produced by BAE systems; and the forward fuselage, cockpit and wings produced by Lockheed Martin.
"When the aircraft is complete, the Royal Netherlands Air Force will have the most capable, most advanced multirole fighter in the world, and the product of our ongoing efforts to achieve maximum efficiency and affordability," said Mark Tucker, vice president and F-35 program manager for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "With this delivery, Northrop Grumman continues to meet its cost and schedule commitments on the F-35 program."
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.