A new facility making unique vertical lift technology for the F-35 has been opened by Defence Minister Stuart Andrew.
The ‘LiftWorks’ facility, which has opened at Rolls-Royce in Bristol, makes the ‘LiftSystem’ to provide F-35 fighter jets with a fan propulsion system that allows them to take off over short distances, hover, swivel mid-air and land vertically.
According to the Government, the site will support more than 100 jobs in the area after more than £20 million was injected into transforming the former Defence Manufacturing building into an advanced facility dedicated to developing the unique technology.
Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said:
“As we build up to the iconic first F-35 take-offs from our brand-new aircraft carrier, it is timely to open this Bristol site which is making it all possible. The incredibly powerful systems made at this high-tech facility mean our jets will be able to operate from British sovereign territory anywhere across the world’s seas to fight any adversaries which threaten us. The F-35 programme is the biggest in the history of defence and is supporting a hundred jobs here at LiftWorks – as well as thousands more right across the country.”
The Bristol site is not only making the LiftFan for UK jets, but for all F-35B jets on order across the world. Production at the site has been building up since 2009, with the official opening now marking the fact that the facility is heading towards peak manufacturing levels.
British companies are building 15% by value of all 3,000 F-35s planned for production. It is projected that around £35 billion will be contributed to the UK economy through the programme, with around 25,000 British jobs also being supported.
Chief of Materiel (Air) for the MOD’s procurement agency, Defence Equipment and Support Air Marshal Julian Young said:
“The STOVL system on the UK’s F-35B Lightning II fleet has been performing exceptionally well for the Lightning Force. We saw this earlier this Summer when F-35s used the Vertical Landing Pads at RAF Marham for the first time. The opening of the new LiftWorks facility at Rolls-Royce promises even greater enhancements to this pioneering technology.”
Rolls-Royce director of customer business defence Alex Zino said:
“Rolls-Royce has pioneered STOVL technology through our development of the Pegasus engine for the Harrier and has now taken that capability to new levels in the shape of the LiftSystem for the F-35B. This new facility enables us to continue produce cutting edge technology to our customer while also ensuring that we are reducing their costs.”