Lockheed Martin has added the first F-35A wing-set manufactured by Italy’s Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi into the F-35 production line.
The wing-set was built at the F-35 Final Assembly & Check-Out (FACO) facility in Cameri, Italy. It entered into the electronic mate and assembly (EMAS), where the forward fuselage, wing-set and aft fuselage are joined.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Business Development vice-president Jack Crisler said: "From the beginning of the programme, Italian industry has influenced the aircraft’s design and capabilities. Italian-made parts and components are installed in every F-35 produced.
"Italian industry will support the F-35 for more than 30 years, from production of parts and final assembly of aircraft to replacement parts and regional sustainment work."
Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi is a strategic co-supplier of F-35A full wing assemblies and the contract covers 835 full wing assemblies.
The fifth-generation fighter F-35 Lightning II integrates advanced low observable stealth technology with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
The F-35’s three variants are developed to replace the A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon for the US Air Force, the F/A-18 Hornet for the US Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the US Marine Corps.
Owned by the Italian Government, the Cameri FACO is operated by Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi in association with Lockheed Martin.
Started operation in July 2013, Cameri FACO has rolled out Italy’s first F-35A aircraft, AL-1, in March this year.
The facility will assemble both Italy’s F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variants and F-35B short takeoff / vertical landing variants. Moreover, it is expected to assemble the Netherlands’ F-35A aircraft in the future.
Image: The first F-35A wing-set entered the F-35 production line in Fort Worth. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.