You can’t accuse Northrop Grumman for over-selling the news in this press release about the F-35. As we say in journalism, if anything, Northrop “buried the lede”.
The press release says Northrop is building a new F-35 center fuselage every 10 working days. Normally, this kind of announcement doesn’t catch my attention — as in, ‘gee, thanks, but isn’t that, you know, what you’re supposed to be doing’?
But then I did some very easy math. If you figure there are about 20 working days in a month, Northrop is also saying they can build 24 center fuselages per year. Stick with me here. The supply chain is currently working on deliveries for F-35s ordered in the third year of low-rate initial production (LRIP-3). In fact, Northrop released a photo showing the center-sections of BF-13 (shown above, left) and AF-14 (right), which are both LRIP-3 jets. The LRIP-3 contract is for only 17 jets, so Northrop’s factory is actually out-pacing the orders, according to the press release.
That’s no minor accomplishment for the F-35 supply chain. In April 2009, we now know the monthly assessment report by the Defense Contracts Management Agency warned in despair that Lockheed may never “achieve or sustain” full rate production if supplier delays continued.
Good news for F-35 supply chain
By Stephen Trimble on 12 August, 2010 in Uncategorised
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