Northrop Grumman has manufactured its 500th F-35 center fuselage for a conventional takeoff and landing variant that will support the Australian air force.
Northrop said Monday it designed and manufactured the AU-18 fuselage at its integrated assembly line using robotics, virtual 3D and autonomous technology.
The defense firm began production of the F35 Lightning II fuselage in June 2018.
“We deliver an F-35 center fuselage every 36 hours and I am very proud to say we have made all our deliveries since the inception of the program,“ said Frank Carus, Northrop's vice president and F-35 program manager.
Kevin Mickey, Northrop's sector vice president and general manager for military aircraft systems, noted that the company's teams and suppliers worked together to deliver the center fuselage ahead of schedule.
Northrop handles F-35 development, production, modernization and sustainment operations and has been manufacturing center fuselages for the aircraft's three variants since May 2004.