Tuesday, 22 July 2014
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BAE upgrades part production facilities at fighter jet factory

BAE Systems is installing an automated production line as part of its plans to speed up production of parts for the F-35 fighter jet at its facility in Samlesbury, Lancashire.

Readers' comments (14)

  • Does anyone know why so many F-35 are being produced?

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  • The US is buying 2,443 F-35s with the UK, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Israel and Japan set to make up the rest of the order.

  • Presumably its a flexible system that will allow interchange once the contract is complete.
    Otherwise someone will have a really expensive dust collector in an dark corner of a factory in a couple of years time

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  • Interesting video however there are a few "buts and what if's" missing here. Automotive mass production depends on having the item to be fitted to hand at the correct time. This requires a "Just in Time" ordering and storage system which, in turn for the F-35, will rely on air frame panels being delivered in specific quantities having been quality control checked for size, dimensions of the fixing holes etc. on an "as required" basis. If BAE are not manufacturing the panels on site then a sub contractor will need to be engaged who has the organisation set up to produce these faultless panels. He must be brave as the uncertainties of the political scene over the long term will see the requirements rise and fall at the whim of Governments. Automotive production can be continued and stock piled even though the market dips but perhaps not for aircraft parts.
    It will be interesting to see how this one develops.

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  • Why have we got rid of the Harrier to buy a jet that carts about a huge hoover fan?
    We should be making a new generation of Harrier with a new engine, a few modern lines, to make it radar invisible, and an umbilical cord facility for vertical take off assist. And why have we sold off the fleet, before this happens?
    I expect its because most of our industry is not British anymore.

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  • As we are clearly going into mass production of F-35 (type not given), does this mean we have finally solved the thorny problem of whether aircraft carriers should carry aircraft. If we are to have the -C variant to save catapult/arrestor gear costs, it stops operations with other NATO fleets unless they have similar VTOL aircraft. What about AEW & other support aircraft essential to area defence?

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  • What are peoples thoughts on this with regard to ITAR. Just interested to hear other peoples thoughts.

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  • I agree with George Manser. Why are we spending billions on the F-35, discarding the Harrier with its VTOL technology, far in advance of the F-35.

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  • In response to a number of points; Harrier was magnificent, partly American funded, of course, and in the AV8-B form, at least partly American in design too. In air combat, it had only ever been proven against a pretty ineffective enemy. Sad to say, if you only have one aircraft type, then JSF in either form is far superior. As a bankrupt nation (thank you, Mr Brown), I doubt we could afford to develop anew, and whether the pitiful shred of an aircraft industry we have left could do it is also highly questionable. This could maybe all be resolved if we had a Governemnt ready to make real investment, but how long before we're able to do that ? Last time Labour wrecked the economy, it took eight years before we were really back on our feet; this time it's much worse.

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  • It's worth pointing out that the 'pitiful shred of the aircraft industry' we have left is the second-largest in the world.

  • I used the term "pitiful shred of an aircraft industry" most deliberately, and would question a claim for ours as the second largest in the world. It might just be so if we took "aviation industry", but I point out that since Britain last put a major new indigenous combat aircraft into service- ie the 1960's, France, the US, Russia, China, Sweden, to name but a few have done so. Sweden has put into service three times as many indigenous supersonic combat aircraft as the UK.
    It is highly doubtful for many reasons, that Britain could produce a major combat aircraft on our own. We are not a part of Airbus, but make parts for them.
    Yes, pitiful shred seems a fair description.

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  • I don't think any of the fantastic engineers who work at British Aerospace, Rolls Royce and all the other companies involved in what is a highly profitable and advanced industry earning billions for Britain in export revenue would take too kindly to your (completely wrong) description! The reason we no longer build indigenous aircraft is political, the skill and means to do it are there if we want it.

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