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BAE Systems celebrates installation of F-35 JSF vertical tails

30 Nov 2005

BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company have completed the installation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) vertical tails, representing a major milestone in the F-35 Program.

The F-35 vertical tails were designed, manufactured and assembled by BAE Systems in Samlesbury, England. The successful installation of the vertical tails signals the final stages of F-35 structural component assembly and further progresses the program towards first flight in the fall of 2006.

The right and left-hand vertical tails were joined to the BAE Systems-produced aft fuselage at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, Texas. With the latest addition of the vertical tails, the first F-35 JSF continues to take shape with the front, centre and aft fuselages and the wing now in place and joined together.

The major subassemblies of the aircraft have been manufactured more than 5,000 miles apart - at sites in the U.S. and the U.K. - but have all come together with exceptional structural accuracy.

The accuracy of the fit is due to the digital design and manufacturing controls used on the F-35 JSF program, which were pioneered by BAE Systems and have since been integrated by F-35 JSF partners Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

With the vertical tails now in place, the first F-35 is progressing and looking more and more like an aircraft everyday. BAE Systems continues to support the build program in Fort Worth, helping to track to first flight next year. Im extremely pleased by the contributions of the U.S. and U.K. teams, said Tom Fillingham, BAE Systems' vice president and F-35 JSF deputy program manager.

The F-35 is a next -generation, supersonic, multi-role stealth aircraft designed to replace the AV-8B Harrier, A -10, F-16, F/A-18 Hornet and the U.K.s Harrier GR.7 and Sea Harrier.

Three versions of the F-35 are currently planned: a conventional take-off and landing (CTOL), a short-takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) and a carrier variant (CV). Each is derived from a common design, and will ensure that the F-35 meets the performance needs of the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, the U.K. Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and allied defense forces worldwide, while staying within strict affordability targets.

BAE Systems facilities in both the U.S. and U.K. are responsible for the design and delivery of key areas of the vehicle and weapon systems, in particular the fuel system, crew escape, life support system and Prognostics Health Management (PHM) integration. BAE Systems also has significant work share in Autonomic Logistics, primarily on the support system side, and is involved in the Integrated Test Force, including the systems flight test and mission systems.

BAE Systems is responsible for the F-35 JSFs Electronic Warfare (EW) systems suite and is also providing advanced affordable low observable apertures and advanced countermeasure systems.

Additionally, BAE Systems is responsible for supplying the Vehicle Management Computer, the Communication, Navigation and Identification (CNI) modules, the active inceptor system and the EOTS Laser subsystem.

The current System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase is estimated to be worth more than $3 billion to the company and production contracts could total $21 billion. These figures do not include export sales, support or other opportunities such as upgrade programs.


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, combat vehicles, 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 and 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 employs over 90,000 people and generates annual sales of approximately 14.8 billion through its wholly owned and joint-venture operations.

For further information, please contact:

Rachel Decker, BAE Systems
Tel: +1 703 414 5556

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