Northrop Grumman delivered the centre fuselage section for the first RAAF F-35A Lightning II, designated AU-1, to prime contractor Lockheed Martin on September 23.
“This centre fuselage will be incorporated into the first F-35 for the Royal Australian Air Force and will be delivered in 2014 for pilot training,” said Brian Chappel, vice president of the F-35 program for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “The first Australian centre fuselage was inducted into our Integrated Assembly Line at Palmdale last October and now we’ve delivered it, marking yet another milestone achievement for the F-35 program.”
Australia so far has contracted for two of a planned fleet of up to 100 F-35s. The fuselage for the second jet, AU-2, is one of 35 centre fuselages “in flow” on Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale assembly line.