BAE Systems has successfully completed the delivery of the 1,000th F-35 Lightning II fuselage to Lockheed Martin, marking a major milestone in the global F-35 programme.

The company also organised a ceremony to mark this delivery milestone. The event was attended by various senior officials and representatives from BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin.

BAE Systems Air group managing director Cliff Robson said: “This is a significant moment for everyone involved in the programme and a testament to the highly skilled workforce we have in the north-west of England.”

The company has been supporting the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme since its inception by delivering a wide range of development, manufacturing and sustainment services for the global fleet.

Production work on the rear fuselage is carried out by BAE Systems at its machining facility in Samlesbury, Lancashire, UK, which was opened in 2010.

This site currently supports more than 1,500 employees.

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The first F-35 fuselage was handed over to Lockheed Martin in 2005 while the first 200th rear fuselage delivery milestone was recorded in 2015.

In 2019, BAE Systems completed the delivery of the 500th aft fuselage to Lockheed Martin under the same programme.

The company’s advanced Samlesbury manufacturing hub will continue to support the F-35 programme for several coming years.

The F-35s global programme of record currently includes more than 3,000 F-35 aircraft delivered to nearly 17 international allied and partner nations.

Lockheed Martin F-35 programme vice-president and general manager Bridget Lauderdale said: “The F-35 programme powers economic growth and prosperity for the UK injecting approximately £41bn (figures for estimated UK economic benefits of F-35 programme) into the UK economy and supporting more than 20,000 jobs in the UK supply chain, many of those based in the north-west.”