Northrop Grumman Delivers 150th F-35 fuselage

Northrop Grumman recently delivered its 150th F-35 center fuselage to prime contractor Lockheed Martin. It took about eight and a half years, from start to finish, to build the first 100 center fuselages, but the June 2 delivery of AF-68 marked the 50th such unit to be delivered in the last 15 months, states a June 5 company release. “The delivery of AF-68 represents Northrop Grumman’s steady progress reducing the production time for the F-35 center fuselage,” said Brian Chappel, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Vice President and F-35 program manager. The center fuselage will be integrated into an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant at Lockheed Martin’s final assembly facility in Fort Worth, Texas, states the release. Chappel credits Northrop Grumman’s integrated assembly line, which opened in March 2011, for the quick turnaround time. “Every minute, every dollar we save on the IAL helps reduce F-35 costs while speeding the jet’s availability to the warfighter,” Chappel said. (See also First F-35 Fuselage Delivered From New Assembly Line.)