Diary

Four Things To Know About F-35 Production Ramp Up

As the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter continues making strides in testing and flight hours, production of the fighter jets is being ramped up. 36 aircraft were delivered in 2014, and in the next three years that number should double.

Coverage on F35.com lines out four key elements to learn about what the production ramp-up will mean, including:

1. Program Managers Are Sure the Program Will Meet Commitments

“My level of confidence that we will meet the production ramp-up rates required of us over the next few years is 100%,” says Dr. Don Kinard, a Lockheed Martin Senior Fellow and Production Rate Transition Lead on the F-35 program whose day-to-day job involves integrating various aspects of F-35 production operations to support rate transition.

“We can build the airplane. We now know exactly how to put the airplane together, so there’s not much else to learn there. We’ve essentially got it down, all we need to do is continue to improve quality, and build it faster and for less cost as we transition to rate,” explains Don.

To put it in perspective, the first production jet produced in 2011 took 153,000 hours to build. Recent deliveries are meeting the 50,000 hour mark, proving that the team has refined the production process significantly.

The tasks ahead now is adding duplicate tooling and capital, hire more mechanics and production supervision, strengthen the supply chain to provide the proper materials, continue to improve quality and implement initiatives to drive down the cost of the airplane. And the team is confident that they can do all of these things. Here are some of the ways they’ll achieve their goals.

What else is there to learn about the increase in F-35 production? Visit F35.com to find out, and to learn more about the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Program.