Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has completed the delivery of the first centre fuselage, designated AT-1, for the first Turkish JSF/F-35 Lightning II aircraft.
The centre fuselage, which is the 21st of its type built by TAI, will be delivered to Lockheed Martin for integration into the final assembly of the JSF/F-35 aircraft Turkey expects to receive next year.
TAI president and chief executive officer Temel Kotil said: "Delivery of the first Turkish JSF/F-35 aircraft is a very important milestone."
The centre fuselage forms a part of the aircraft's internal weapons bay and internal fuel capacity.
TAI produces centre fuselages for JSF/F-35s across the globe and delivers them to the final assembly and checkout (FACO) facilities in Cameri, Italy, and Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, US.
The company started manufacturing composite parts for the JSF/F-35 in 2008 and its scope of work increased in 2009 to include building structural assemblies.
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The first TAI-built centre fuselage was delivered in December 2013, according to the company.
TAI plans to build 400 centre fuselages in total.
In 2002, Turkey joined the original partner countries on the JSF/F-35 programme. The other partner countries are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, UK, and the US.
Northrop Grumman is a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led industry team and is developing the aircraft in three variants, including the F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL), the F-35B short take-off-vertical landing (STOVL), and the F-35C carrier variant (CV).
Image: In 2002, Turkey joined the original partner countries on the JSF/F-35 programme. Photo: courtesy of Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc.