BAE Systems has kicked off a project to expand a company facility in Samlesbury, England, that produces rear fuselage and tail sets for the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.
BAE said Monday it aims to increase production capacity at the plant by up to 250 percent after the British government committed to acquire a short take-off and vertical-landing variant of the fighter jet.
The initiative will add a 4,500-square-meter space for assembly and sub-assembly lines production, testing and paint activities at the Samlesbury plant.
BAE said it expects the expanded facility, which is scheduled to be complete by January 2017, to support the manufacture of up to 160 aircraft sets a year.
The U.K. seeks to invest in as many as 138 STVOL F-35 jets for the British air force and navy.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor on the F-35 program.