Northrop Grumman has finished work on the first of 52 center fuselages it has designed for the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s planned order of F-35 Lightning II – the AM 1 conventional takeoff and landing variant.
The company said Wednesday it reached the milestone on time and within budget, utilizing an integrated assembly line approach to produce the main component of the Lockheed Martin-built joint strike fighter aircraft.
“Today’s event marks another key delivery on the F-35 team’s promise to produce a fifth-generation, multirole fighter that can meet the common air combat requirements of the U.S. and its allies,” Brian Chappel, vice president and F-35 program manager at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said at a short ceremony held in California on Dec. 4.
“Our success is helping the industry team meet the operational need dates of our international partners,” he added.
Work on Norway’s other AM 1 center fuselages is ongoing at Northrop’s Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence.
Final assembly, to be led by Lockheed at Fort Worth, will involve pairing the center fuselage with the cockpit and the BAE Systems-built aft fuselage and empennage.