The Marietta F-35 Team marked a milestone as the 500th ‘Centre Wing’, or ‘CW’, was shipped to the F-35 Final Assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas.

“The Marietta F-35 team delivered its first CW in September 2011. The milestone CW will be incorporated into CF-55, an F-35C aircraft that will be delivered to the U.S. Navy at NAS Lemoore, California, in 2021.

The Marietta team builds CWs for all three F-35 variants, the Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) F-35A, the Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B, and the Carrier Variant (CV) F-35C.”

The CW is a major structural component and represents nearly one third of the aircraft’s fuselage. The aircraft wings are attached to the CW during final assembly. Nearly all of the aircraft’s F135 engine case is enclosed in the CWA.

Production has ramped up from five Center Wings delivered in 2011, to 21 in 2012 (the first full year of production), to 112 CWs in 2019.

The Marietta team say they are currently scheduled to deliver more than 120 CWs in 2021.

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Did I interpret that correctly – that there is a different centre wing section for each of the F-35 variants? I know there are marked differences between them, but I’m surprised the central fuselage isn’t a common component.


As I recall they made the F-35B lighter to save VTOL weight but then found it needed more strength and is still undergoing double-life time stress testing at Brough(?). The F-35C CW has to take the extra stress of carrier landings and is probably built somewhat stronger than the F-35A CW.


Of course, that makes perfect sense. Thanks.

Paul T

On a visit to Munich I had a good look around the Deutsches Museum,in the Aviation section they had a Wing Glove Box from a Tornado,it must be one of the best pieces of Engineering that I have ever seen.The F35 one in the picture looks on another level altogether.

Pete H

I wonder what the weight and dimensions are for this section!

Nigel Collins

“Covid-19: Lockheed Martin readjusts F-35 delivery schedule as virus hits production”


This month’s AFM reports 3 more F35Bs scheduled to be delivered to RAF/RN during 2020 – subject to COVID-19 delays. A very painful delivery schedule. Most of the UK fleet will be on QE for that far east cruise next year…just to make a single squadron

Anthony Hulbert

We won’t have the manpower to take too many aircraft. I imagine it’ll be 6/8 for 617

Daniele Mandelli

Being the QEC’s maiden deployment, I have no problem with the slow rate of deliveries up to this point myself. I think HMG got it right myself.

Need another batch, that will be the make or break for RN carrier aviation.


On the other hand Daniele a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Covid 19 may well kill any hopes of a decent sized fleet…permanently 😟

Daniele Mandelli

Might well. I’d settle for just 12 more myself, 60 total. All Bs mind. 70 plus is better of course.

I think it is no secret a reduction in the talked of 138 is certain. The money is uncommitted, the aircraft don’t yet exist, and it saves billions.

Manpower. Assets. Paid for assets. They do exist.

Daniele Mandelli

Just 48 with no additional does not allow for 2 squadrons, the OCU, the OEU, plus sustainment fleet. Another order is necessary.