Northrop Grumman sub contractor Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has delivered its first F-35 Lightning II centre fuselage to Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin at its facilities in Ankara, Turkey, under the F-35 programme.
The F-35 centre fuselage, which will be installed onto US Air Force aircraft at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, is the first centre fuselage manufactured by TAI as an international manufacturing partner to Northrop Grumman.
TAI president and CEO Muharrem Dortkasli said the firm invested in brand new and modern facilities, machinery, equipment and tooling to manufacture the most advanced and complex assembly of the F-35, fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
"Delivery of the first F-35 center fuselage is a major step by TAI to demonstrate its commitment to adding value to the program," Dortkasli said.
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems F-35 program vice-president Brian Chappel said, "We worked hand-in-hand to manufacture the first center fuselage, following established processes implemented by Northrop Grumman on our own assembly line in California."
TAI will support F-35 final assembly lines in the US and Italy by shipping one centre fuselage every ten days, once the programme reaches full rate production.
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Centre fuselages of TAI will be integrated into the Turkish F-35 aircraft and also to other participating nations’ aircraft.
TAI also produces selected composite components and air-to-ground alternate mission pylons for F-35 variants, in addition to composite air inlet ducts and centre fuselage metallic assemblies for F-35A.