Israel unveils production line for F-35 wings

Israel Aerospace Industries is one of just a few companies across the globe that partners with Lockheed Martin in producing the world’s most advanced stealth fighter.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel Aerospace Industries has launched a new production line for the “skins” that cover the wings of the F-35 fighter jet, which are a key component in making it invisible to radar screens, Mako reported Wednesday.

The company, which has produced hundreds of the jet’s wings since 2014 for Lockheed Martin, is expected to make hundreds of millions of dollars more from its new 20-year contract with the American giant. Some 700 wing-pairs will be manufactured in the first stage alone.

The F-35 is considered the most advanced stealth fighter in the world, and Israel was the first foreign country to receive a shipment. Five jets have already been delivered out of a total of 50 ordered – two squadrons’ worth – at an estimated cost of $5.5 billion.

As noted by Israel’s Air force commander, Major General Amikam Norkin, Israel became the first country in the world to use the F-35 in combat, when IAF pilots clashed with Iranian forces in Syria in May.

“The opening of the production line constitutes a significant milestone in the realization of the company’s strategy for building advanced capabilities in the field of composite materials manufacturing technology. Thanks to this move, IAI will belong to a ‘limited club’ of companies with these manufacturing capabilities,” said IAI Vice-President Shlomi Karako at the launch.

The expansion of IAI’s collaboration with Lockheed Martin “is another proof of the deep partnership and trust” the American manufacturer has with Israel’s leader in defense production, said Lockheed Martin Israel’s CEO, Yehoshua Shani.