F-35 Advanced-Technology Fighter's Economic Footprint in Texas is Growing

By Morgan Montalvo

WOAI News 

Texas  has many reasons to be proud of its part in producing the U.S.  military's most advanced multi-role fighter aircraft, News Radio 1200  WOAI reports. 

A  full-scale mock-up of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II stealth  technology fighter took center stage at Monday's "Made in America"  industrial showcase on the White House Lawn. 

President Trump, Vice  President Pence and a large Congressional delegation attended the  display, organized to celebrate U.S. production successes. 

Company  chief test pilot Al Norman tells News Radio 1200 WOAI Texas workers are  the production backbone of the effort to deliver America’s top-tier  strike fighter to the Pentagon. 

Lockheed Martin has a major operation at Port San Antonio, where it recently opened a cyber security campus.

“For  Texas alone there are over a hundred suppliers with nearly 50,000  employees working directly and indirectly on the program,” Norman says,  “to the tune of over seven-billion dollars of economic impact.” 

Norman  says 1,700 employees at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth factory help  produce the “fifth-generation” stealth-capable aircraft. 

Lockheed Martin  plans to add an additional 400 workers to the F-35 production line, he  adds. Subcontractors in 46 states contribute to F-35 production. 

The  Lightning II currently is in service with the U.S. Air Force and U.S.  Marine Corps. The U.S. Navy also has plans to also acquire the Lightning  II, as do at least eight foreign air forces. 

Australia is scheduled to  take delivery of its F-35s by year’s end. So far, Lockheed Martin has delivered about 300 F-35s to the Defense Department.

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