First Belgian F-35 on production line in US

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The first Belgian F-35A, the fighter to replace the aging F-16s, is on the production line of the American manufacturer Lockheed Martin, in Forth Worth, Texas. The Ministry of Defense announced this in a press release on Monday.

wverSource: BELGA

According to the Ministry of Defense, this concerns the ‘outer wing box’, or the basic structure of the wing. “The finishing of this wing is done on the production line, after which we move on to the next phase of the production process,” says Defense.

The construction of those components had started last summer at the production facility of the Italian group Leonardo – an industrial partner in the F-35 program, in Cameri, Italy.

The first Belgian F-35 is expected to be delivered at the end of next year. The first eight of the fighter jets will remain in the United States, at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, to train pilots and technicians. The first F-35As will arrive in Belgium in 2025, at the airbase in Florennes. The first aircraft will arrive at Kleine-Brogel in 2027.

In October 2018, the federal government took the plunge in the dossier of the new combat aircraft for the Belgian army. The government ordered 34 F-35As, for an amount of 3.8 billion euros.

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