Northrop Grumman has completed the 500th centre fuselage for the F-35 – ahead of schedule say the company.
“We deliver an F-35 center fuselage every 36 hours and I am very proud to say we have made all our deliveries since the inception of the program,” said Frank Carus, vice president and F-35 program manager, Northrop Grumman.
Designated AU-18, the 500th F-35 center fuselage is for a conventional takeoff and landing variant for the Royal Australian Air Force.
Northrop Grumman began production on the AU-18 center fuselage in June 2018 and completed work on February 21st.
Northrop Grumman has been producing center fuselages for all three F-35 variants since May 2004.
A core structure of the F-35 aircraft, the center fuselage is designed and produced on Northrop Grumman’s integrated assembly line, supported by technologies exclusive to or pioneered by Northrop Grumman bringing together robotics, autonomous systems, virtual 3D and predictive automation to the forefront of center fuselage production.
Lockheed Martin is the industry lead for the F-35 programme and Northrop Grumman says it plays a key role in the development, modernisation, sustainment and production of the F-35. In addition to producing the centre fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft, the company develops, produces and maintains several sensor systems, avionics, mission systems and mission-planning software, pilot and maintainer training systems, electronic warfare simulation test capability, and low-observable technologies.