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The first Magellan Aerospace -manufactured horizontal tail assembly successfully flew on an F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft for the first time from Lockheed Martin‘s final assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas, US.

Delivered to Lockheed in December 2012, the tail assembly flew on an F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant aircraft, designated as AF-46.

Magellan is manufacturing the tail components for the third low-rate initial production (LRIP) lot of F-35 CTOL fighters, as part of a C$11m ($11.15m) subcontract awarded by BAE Systems in June 2009.

More than 1,000 sets of the components are expected to be produced by the company for the programme over a 20-year period.

Magellan president and chief executive officer James Butyniec said, "While Magellan has been producing a number of F-35 assemblies for the programme for a number of years, this first flight of our horizontal tail is a significant event and Magellan is proud of this achievement."

"More than 1,000 sets of the components are expected to be produced by the company for the programme over a 20-year period."

Magellan F-35 Corporate programme director Scott McCrady said the company’s annual production rates have been steadily increasing since the delivery of the first tail assembly, and are expected to continually increase over the next several years as the F-35 programme matures.

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The company is also under contract with Rolls-Royce to manufacture the vane box assembly and transition duct for all of the F-35B short take off and landing (STOVL) variants.

In addition to this, the company has been directly producing and supplying a number of composite assemblies and machined details to Lockheed.

Currently under development by prime contractor, Lockheed, in three variants, the F-35 JSF is a fifth-generation multirole fighter designed to conduct ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defence missions with stealth capability.

Defence Technology