Lockheed Martin's marketing efforts behind the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) this week will be aided by the company being able to point to the increasing pace of production of the aircraft.

Forward-fuselage assembly began at its Fort Worth, Texas plant last week The loading of an F-35 structural bulkhead into an assembly tool marked the official start of production of this section of the aircraft. Assembly of the aircraft's wings will start at the plant in the next few weeks.

Assembly of the centre fuselage began at industrial partner Northrop Grumman in May, while BAE Systems will begin assembling the aft fuselage and tails later this year.

First flight is planned for 2006.

Source: Flight Daily News