As green-skinned, half-assembled F-35 Joint Strike Fighters take shape, this massive factory that once cranked out thousands of World War II bombers is preparing to get real busy again.
F-35 production is slated to hit full steam in 2019, and Lockheed Martin is reshaping its final assembly line to get ready. Not far from the nine assembly stations where the stealthy jets are coming together, wooden walls and plastic sheeting rise dozens of feet to the ceiling, blocking off large portions of the plant where new laser-leveled concrete is being poured. Lowered air pressure behind the screens helps keep dust and debris away from the sensitive airframes. Elsewhere, scaffolding is being erected for seven new assembly stations to come.
“I came to work here eight years ago,” said Lockheed spokesman Mike Rein. “Nothing in this building right here, apart from the walls and the ceiling, looks the same.”
For the complete story by Marcus Weisgerber of Defense One, click here.
Photo by U.S. Air Force