Inside the Lockheed Martin Fort Worth Texas factory you’ll find nerd-like technicians working in a cool, climate controlled sterile environment. This is the home of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive plane program ever.
The production line at this factory is a staggering 1.6 kilometers long. Capable of pumping out one jet every day, the Fort Worth factory is kept a cool steady 18 degrees and you’ll see more men in white coats than the blue-collars you’d expect in a war machine factory.
ABC was lucky enough to be invited to the factory. Somehow, they were allowed access with a camera but were cautioned by security telling the cameraman “I’ve got my eyes on you.” As the crew approached a sensitive section of the factory that works on the propulsion systems of the F-35, the security officer held a notepad over the lens to ensure not even one frame was captured.
The JSF program is expensive, very delayed and faces numerous problems. Such as an engine catching fire last week which grounded the entire 80 made for a full review of the Pratt and Whitney turbine engines.
Yet pilots love the F-35. If they can iron out the problems and get it fully operational and running without a hitch, this plane will be the most advanced strike fighter ever…on paper. Whilst pilots say it’s a joy to fly, responsive and versatile, a lot of pilots also prefer the F-18 variants for their reliability and ordnance capabilities.
Some argue that Lockheed is the backbone of the US war machine. Others argue it’s another corporation similar to Boeing, Raytheon and Halliburton to name but a few that profit from endless conflicts including Iraq to Afghanistan, Israel to Africa and beyond.
It’ll be a while yet before we see these screaming across the skies, but when we do it’s going to be quiet, stealth and deadly.
Source: ABC News Australia