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First Cut On Next Generation Fighter Jet

17 Mar 2004

The production of the first UK components for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the worlds next generation stealth fighter jet, has started at two facilities in the North West of England.

BAE Systems at Samlesbury, where the aft fuselage and tail for the JSF will be manufactured, and Hyde Precision, a major sub-contractor to BAE Systems on the programme, have both commenced production of airframe components for the JSF.

The BAE Systems Machining Centre at Samlesbury began work on one of the major frames that form part of the aft fuselage, for which BAE Systems is responsible for the design and build. Whilst at Hyde Precision, machining of one the leading edge spars that sit within the vertical tails of the supersonic stealth fighter has also got underway.

Tom Fillingham, Vice President and Deputy General Manager, BAE Systems said, This marks a major step forward for the JSF programme in the UK. Until now the JSF had been an 3-D computer designed aircraft, now it has taken its first step in becoming a real aircraft.

With both BAE Systems Samlesbury and Hyde Precision commencing production of major components for the worlds biggest military defence programme, it shows how important JSF is to the UK aerospace industry and in particular the North West of England.

Phil Beard, Managing Director of Manchester based Hyde Precision Components Limited (a member of the Hyde Group of Companies) added, Last weeks First Chips event was the culmination of months of intense management and engineering effort both at BAE Systems and Hyde. It means a great deal for us at Hyde to be involved in such a technically demanding, multinational project that potentially will have the programme longevity to support the North West engineering base for many years to come.

Hyde Precision are proud to be involved in the JSF programme and I wish BAE Systems all the success on the programme and hope in some small way that we will have contributed to its undoubted future success.

Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager of the JSF programme, said, BAE Systems brings the advanced manufacturing technology required to keep the F-35 efficient to produce, and therefore affordable for our customers. This is a great moment for the JSF programme.

About F-35 JSF:

Along with its principal industrial partners BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) for the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as the UKs Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, to replace the A-10, the Harrier, F-16 and the F/A-18 in current service with the two nations.
Three variants of the aircraft are being developed. The three variants feature a high degree of commonality, with each being tailored to meet any unique requirements of each service:

* a conventional takeoff and landing aircraft (CTOL) for the US Air Force, which features an internal weapons bay and greater internal fuel capacity than the aircraft it will replace, whilst the low-observable design gives stealth for the first time in a multi-role fighter;
* a short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant, for the US Marine Corps and the UK, which features a shaft-driven lift fan propulsion system that multiplies vertical thrust, enhancing STOVL performance without any compromise to the fighter ability of the aircraft;
* a carrier takeoff and landing (CV) aircraft, for the US Navy, which has increased internal fuel capacity for greater combat striking range. Larger wing and tail surfaces enable superior, carrier-suitable handling qualities

 

About BAE SYSTEMS in the North West:

BAE Systems plays a leading role in the North West, where it sits at the heart of a defence cluster of national importance. With a turnover of 4bn and sustaining more than 30,000 jobs in the area, BAE Systems North West sites are key to both the overall success of the company and the UK's ability to defend itself. At sites including Warton, Samlesbury, Chadderton, Blackburn, Chorley, Woodford and Barrow some of the company's most important programmes are undertaken, from air systems such as Eurofighter Typhoon and Joint Strike Fighter to Tornado, Hawk and Nimrod, along with sea systems including the Type 45 destroyer and the Astute submarine. Recognising the importance of the region, BAE Systems has made annual site investments over the past five years of between 60M and 150M.

About BAE SYSTEMS

BAE Systems is an international company engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced defence and aerospace systems in the air, on land, at sea and in space. The company designs, manufactures and supports military aircraft, surface ships, submarines, radar, avionics, communications, electronics and guided weapon systems. It is a pioneer in technology with a heritage stretching back hundreds of years. It is at the forefront of innovation, working to develop the next generation of intelligent defence systems.

BAE Systems has major operations across five continents and customers in some 130 countries. The company has more than 90,000 people and generates annual sales of approximately 12 billion through its wholly-owned and joint venture operations.

BAE Systems, innovating for a safer world.



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