Fokker has signed an agreement with Lockheed Martin for the production of additional wing components for the next batches of F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft.

Under the terms of agreement, the company will the manufacture flaperons and outboard leading edge flaps (OLEF) for the ninth and tenth low rate initial production batches of the fifth-generation fighter.

The flaperons are critical for the controllability of the aircraft. They are 3m-long flaps on the aircraft’s wing trailing edges, while the OLEF are flaps on the wing leading edges.

The design of the flaperons is based on the low maintenance combination of composite and titanium. This combination of components give a better resistance to fatigue and corrosion, and also contributes to improved aircraft performance by simultaneously saving weight and increasing strength.

One hundred highly qualified specialists will gain employments at Fokker in Hoogeveen between 2015 to 2017, thanks to the agreement. The contract also represents an additional value of tens of millions of dollars.

"This (additional wing component) order will secure employment for around 100 employees, a figure that will be doubled if the total production order is received."

Fokker chief executive officer Hans Büthker said: "The selection for the follow-on production orders is a very important step.

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"This (additional wing component) order will secure employment for around 100 employees, a figure that will be doubled if the total production order is received."

Netherlands Special Envoy for industrial participation Maxime Verhagen said: "28 Dutch companies are already directly involved in the F-35 programme, and probably more than 100 more as subcontractor.

"This selection is an excellent achievement and shows the success of a focused approach."

Netherlands Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp said: "The production and sustainment of the F-35 provides opportunities for Dutch industries and employment in the high tech segment of our economy.

"With this selection by Lockheed Martin, Fokker proves to have excellent abilities to substantially participate in this programme."

Fokker has been producing the flaperons and OLEF since third LRIP Lot for the F-35 aircraft.

In addition, the company has manufactured more than 2000 sets of flaperons for Lockheed’s F-16 aircraft since 1978.

Currently under development in three versions, the F-35 is a fifth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft designed to conduct an array of ground attack, reconnaissance and air defence missions with stealth capability.

Image: A F-35 multi-role fighter aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of Fokker Technologies.