BAE opens £150million F-35 plant in Lancashire

BAE Systems has announced the opening of its new fifth generation stealthy fighter jet manufacturing facility in Lancashire.

Part of the company's £150million investment in the F-35 programme at Samlesbury, the facility when fully completed will enable workers to produce one F-35 aft fuselage set every day, compared to the current rate of one set per week.

The extension is the second part of a three phase expansion plan to the facility as the programme gears up for peak rate production by 2016.

Chris Allam, F-35 senior vp said "The facility opening is an exciting development in the F-35 story at Samlesbury. F-35 is an important programme for BAE Systems and the capabilities that this facility provides are equal to anywhere in the world.

"We're using state of the art machines and manufacturing techniques to ensure we can meet the rates of production that the F-35 programme demands. It's fair to say that this facility is proof that we're standing up to that challenge and we're keeping ourselves at the forefront of UK manufacturing."

Martin Wright, chief executive for the North West Aerospace Alliance, said the centre would help to build knowledge, create jobs and encourage more young people into industry. "The F-35 programme is the largest defence project in the world and, through BAE Systems, will be the backbone of stability to our regional industry through those companies successful in winning F-35 contracts," he concluded.

Laura Hopperton

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