Northrop Grumman has delivered the center fuselage for the first production F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, according to an April 30 company release. The AF-6 F-35 will be the Air Force’s conventional takeoff and landing variant. Northrop plans to produce 10 more center fuselages this year, bringing its total for the year to 14. According to the release, it has delivered 19 center fuselages on time to F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin. Lockheed’s executive vice president and F-35 general program manager, Dan Crowley, said that Northrop’s “consistent on-time delivery” not only helps the JSF team “meet its commitments to the customer,” but also “helps the team ensure delivery of F-35s to the flight line in time to meet users’ initial operational need dates.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.