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Rheinmetall to build new German factory for manufacture of F-35A Lightening II fuselage sections

Rheinmetall plans to build a new factory for the production of F-35A Lightening II fuselage sections
Rheinmetall plans to build a new factory for the production of F-35A Lightening II fuselage sections © Rheinmetall

Düsseldorf, Germany-based has announced it is to build new factory premises specifically for the manufacturing of fuselage parts for the F-35A Lightning II multirole combat aircraft. Working closely with American partners Northrop Grumman and , the creation of a 60,000-square-metre ultra-modern factory unit will provide a massive boost to German-American defence technology cooperation.

Located at Weeze in the Kleve district of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the purpose-built premises will produce at least 400 F-35A fuselage sections for the air forces of Germany and friendly nations. The premises are expected to become fully operational by 2025 and it is anticipated that over 400 highly skilled men and women will crew the ultramodern assembly line.

“We're proud that our longstanding partnership with Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin and our decades long relationship with the Bundeswehr is resulting in a genuine transfer of know-how to Germany”, declares Rheinmetall Chief Executive Armin Papperger. “And we're very pleased to be contributing to the future viability of Germany as a technology powerhouse, and especially NRW, our longstanding corporate home. Close to the state capital in Düsseldorf, we're going to build a factory that sets standards Europewide. We're very grateful for the political and administrative support we experienced in Weeze during our search for a location.”

“Northrop Grumman will replicate our automated and manufacturing techno­logies of the Integrated Assembly Line in Weeze,” said Glenn Masukawa, for Northrop Grumman's program. “Combined with Rheinmetall's capabilities, our collaboration with Lockheed Martin to manufacture the centre fuselage is critical in bolstering global security. We look forward to the success of this newest F-35 facility.”

“We are pleased with Rheinmetall's swift site selection for the upcoming F-35 centre fuselage production facility. This marks an important milestone in the German F-35 program – this increase in capacity helps meet the growing global demand that further enables the F-35 to stay ahead of evolving threats in the 21st century landscape,” said Mike Shoemaker, Vice President of F-35 Customer Programs at Lockheed Martin. “Lockheed Martin is committed to fostering industry partnerships and creating jobs in Germany. We appreciate Rheinmetall's role as an agile and flexible partner and look forward to continued collaboration.”

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