Northrop Grumman Corporation joined Rheinmetall, Lockheed Martin and German officials for a groundbreaking ceremony in Weeze, Germany to establish a second F-35 center fuselage Integrated Assembly Line (IAL) with Rheinmetall AG. The IAL will help meet increased demands for the fifth-generation fighter aircraft while bolstering defense capabilities with allied nations throughout Europe. The German Ministry of Defense announced on December 14, 2022 it is procuring 35 Lockheed Martin 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft. The agreement includes a comprehensive package of engines, role-specific mission equipment, spare and replacement parts, technical and logistic support, training and armament.
“The success of the IAL addresses Northrop Grumman’s vision to affordably manufacture a quality next-generation aircraft that meets the needs of a growing number of international customers. Combined with Rheinmetall’s experience with German Armed Forces and European industry, the collaboration with Rheinmetall and Lockheed Martin will foster critical skills and energize the region’s economy with high-tech job opportunities,” said Tom Jones, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems.
Lockheed Martin has been a committed partner to the Bundeswehr for more than 50 years, and the F-35 opens another chapter of supporting Germany’s interests for national and European security. By the 2030s, it is expected that over 550 F-35s will work together from more than 10 European countries, including two full U.S. F-35 squadrons at RAF Lakenheath. As a cornerstone for interoperability with NATO, the F-35 is the only 5th Generation fighter available today to strengthen Germany’s operational capability with allies. Connectivity has become increasingly more important as the battlespace continues to evolve, and the F-35 is positioned to play a critical role in that change and contribute to 21st Century Security missions.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. Lockheed Martin is the prime F-35 contractor, with principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. The aircraft has three main variants: the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A, the short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) F-35B, and the carrier-based (CV/CATOBAR) F-35C.To date, the F-35 operates from 26 bases worldwide, with nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil. There are more than 875 F-35s in service today, with more than 1,845 pilots and 13,350 maintainers trained on the aircraft.
An der Zeremonie am @airportweeze nahmen auch der Ministerpräsident des @landnrw @HendrikWuest, Landeswirtschaftsministerin @MonaNeubaur und zahlreiche weitere Ehrengäste aus Politik, Gesellschaft, Streitkräften, Industrie und Medien teil. pic.twitter.com/SpiYez6naJ
— Rheinmetall (@RheinmetallAG) August 1, 2023