Bakersfield company helps build the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

In a little more than a hundred years of flight we have come from the Wright Brothers to the future of aviation.
BAKERSFIELD, CA-- In a little more than a hundred years of flight we have come from the Wright Brothers to the future of aviation. That future is now a reality in the form of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. But, without support structures from Kern Steel Fabrication this jet would never get off the ground.

With its touch screen displays some might say flying the F-35 could be like flying a giant iPad. In the area of government contracts the F-35 is big business. Each fighter is expected to cost $115 million per jet until production ramps up, where the cost could come down to $75 million per jet.

"Back in 2005 we were a little overweight on our STOVL variant, the F-35 B, and we actually had to go back and redesign it,” said Robert Rubino with Lockheed Martin. “It took a couple of extra years and some extra funding."

Even though the cost is high and at 14 years, production has taken nearly seven years longer than the F-16. Congressman David Valadao thinks the fighter is worth it.

"At the end of the day our number one priority is keeping our citizens safe and to make sure that we do that right we have to make sure the equipment is done right,” Valadao said.

The Congressman tried out the cockpit simulator Wednesday morning at Kern Steel Fabrication. The plant provides support structures so the jets can be built in places like Fort Worth, Texas.

"We have been involved in the F-35 project since 2009 and it has brought it about $10 million to us in work,” said Dave Champness, the owner of Kern Steel Fabrication. He added about 100 employees work on projects geared toward the F-35.

The Joint Strike Fighter program is now roughly $159 billion over its initial budget, according to government estimates and the U.S. is scheduled to buy the first of more than 2,400 F-35's in 2015.

Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus

Bakersfield, CA

64°F
86°F
58°F
Clear