Air Marshal Geoff Brown, the Australian air force’s chief of staff, met with Northrop Grumman executives at one of the company’s F-35 production plants Friday to observe manufacturing of the jet’s fuselage.
The company said he witnessed the making of the jet’s first fuselage as part of low-rate initial production lot six and received updates on progress of the program.
Michelle Scarpella, Northrop’s vice president of the F-35 program, said in a release Brown saw firsthand the company’s facility and manufacturing methods at Northrop’s Palmdale, Calif. plant.
Brown also toured the plant’s assembly line, which uses robotics and automation.
Australia plans to purchase 100 jets and is one of eight international partners in the Joint Strike Fighter program.
Two F-35 center fuselages are scheduled for delivery to the Australian air force in 2014 for pilot training, the company said.
Norway’s defense secretary visited the Palmdale plant in March to watch a flight demonstration and tour the assembly line.