The ‘Liftworks’ facility is one of many cutting-edge manufacturing sites across the UK contributing to the wider Rolls Royce LiftSystem contract for the F35 programme. 40% of the work under this contract takes place in the UK, supporting 900 jobs across the supply chain.
During the visit, the Minister unveiled a plaque marking the official opening of the Filton site before embarking on a tour of the facility where he met employees, apprentices and graduates.
Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said:
As we build up to the iconic first F-35 take-offs from our brand-new aircraft carrier, it is timely to open this Bristol site which is making it all possible. The incredibly powerful systems made at this high-tech facility mean our jets will be able to operate from British sovereign territory anywhere across the world’s seas to fight any adversaries which threaten us. The F-35 programme is the biggest in the history of defence, and is supporting a hundred jobs here at LiftWorks – as well as thousands more right across the country.
The F-35B Lightning multi-role fighter jet is the first to combine radar evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and short take-off and vertical landing capability.
UK accepts 16th F-35
During his opening speech, the Minister also announced that the UK has accepted its 16th jet, which is now set to fly into Beaufort, South Carolina. There are around 200 British personnel at the American site testing the aircraft. The fighter jets will be jointly manned by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and can operate from land and sea, forming a vital part of Carrier Strike when operating from the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.
It has been a monumental year for Britain’s F-35 jets, after the first aircraft touched down on home soil in RAF Marham in June, two months ahead of schedule. They are on track to be operational by the end of the year. There are now nine of the jets at the Norfolk base, whilst more British jets continue to undergo flight trials in the United States.