Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT) operation in Pinellas Park officially opened a new 57,000 square foot manufacturing facility today to produce aircraft canopy components for the F-35 Lighting II fighter.
The new facility is an annex to Lockheed Martin's existing 197,000 square foot building that has been producing structural components for more than 10 different types of aircraft since 1997. The operation began with 80 employees and has since grown to its current workforce of 250, with additional jobs expected as the F-35 program moves toward peak production. The expanded facility can support production of up to 20 F-35 canopy units a month.
In remarks at the event, Harry Glenn, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Bill Young, chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense, said, "The Lockheed Martin Pinellas facility has distinguished itself with its quality, safety and efficiency and has become a center of excellence for the manufacturing of F-35 canopies."
Aircraft canopy components include the "windshield" of the aircraft – a clear plastic bubble – and the frame, ejection pyrotechnics and other structures that support it.
The F-35 is expected to be one of the largest military aircraft programs in history, including thousands of aircraft to be produced for world air forces over several decades. The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.
Core competencies at the Pinellas facility include sheet metal and extrusion fabrication and structural subassembly. To date the facility has produced components for the C-130J, F-22, F-16, C-5 and P-3, in addition to the F-35. Besides supporting Lockheed Martin aircraft programs, the facility does work for several other companies.
Source: Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT)
Date: Feb 23, 2012