Air Force Plant 4
Fort Worth, TX
Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems is a government-owned, contractor-operated facility designated as Air Force Plant 4, located adjacent to the realigned Carswell reserve base in Ft. Worth, Texas. This division of Lockheed Martin employs over 11,900 personnel with a 1994 payroll of $677.76 million. Facilities encompass 602 acres with over seven million square feet of building space. Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems supports several major programs including the Air Force's F-16 Fighting Falcon, FS-X, and F-22 Air Superiority Fighter aircraft. In addition, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems is leading Lockheed Martin's effort in the Joint Advanced Strike Technology program to develop future tactical aircraft for the Navy, Marines, and Air Force.
Air Force Plant 4 is a Government-Owned Contractor-Operated (GOCO) defense manufacturing facility. It is located in Tarrant County, Texas, 7 miles northwest of the City of Fort Worth. It occupies 605 acres and is bounded on the north by Lake Worth, on the east by Carswell Air Force Base (Carswell AFB), and on the south and west by the City of White Settlement. The Plant shares access to the runways and the support facilities with Carswell AFB. The plant includes 8 million square feet of industrial floor space (the government owns 84%). It is a self-sufficient and self-contained fabrication and assembly operation. Facilities include a high bay structure and flyaway capability (from adjacent Carswell AFB). Support functions (logistics, engineering office space) are conducted from onsite trailers and leased offsite space.
Air Force Plant 4 was opened in 1941. It was operated by the Fort Worth Division of Consolidated Aircraft Company (later Convair) for assembly of the B-24 bomber. In 1942, during World War II, Air Force Plant 4 became operational when Consolidated Aircraft began manufacturing the B-24 Liberator bomber. Over 3,000 B-24s were constructed in the first 2 years of operation. Later, the plant produced 124 B-32s, the successor to the B-24. Later, the plant began producing aircraft components, as well as delivering completed aircraft.
Many innovative aircraft were produced at AFP 4, including the first intercontinental bomber (B-361, the first supersonic bomber (B-58), and the first swing-wing aircraft (F-111). In 1953, General Dynamics took over operation of the manufacturing facility. Since then, Air Force Plant 4 has produced the B-36, B-58, F-111 and F-16 aircraft. Between 1947 and 1954, 383 B-36s were built, and afterwards the Mach-2-capable B-58. By 1966, the plant had expanded to 4.7 million square feet, and by 1968 it had expanded further to 6.5 million square feet, to accommodate production of the F-111.
As of the end of the Cold War, the plant was fabricating, assembling, and testing the F-16 fighter for the USAF and 10 allied nations. In March 1992, Lockheed, Inc. took over operation of the facility to produce F-16 and F-22 aircraft components. Additionally, the plant produces spare aircraft parts, radar units, and missile components.
Air Force Plant 4 is one of the largest employers in the area with a staff of approximately 17,000 people. Air Force Plant 4 is located within the Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area which includes Johnson, Parker and Tarrant Counties. The area is characterized as a highly urbanized area with a diverse economic base concentrated in the manufacturing, service and retail industries. With a large number of defense industries and their associated supply and service businesses, the community has been greatly affected by the recent reduction in defense expenditures.
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