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Tampa Bay-Lakeland
Business Observer Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 9 years ago

Jet maker grows local division

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Lockheed Martin adds manufacturing facility for F-35 canopy.

PINELLAS PARK — Lockheed Martin has opened a new 57,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for its Pinellas Park operation to produce aircraft canopy components for the F-35 Lighting II fighter.

The new facility is an annex to Lockheed Martin's existing 197,000-square-foot manufacturing building that has been producing structural components for more than 10 different aircraft since 1997.

The operation started with 80 employees and has since grown to a work force of 250, with additional jobs expected as the F-35 program moves toward peak production. To date, the facility has produced components for the C-130J, F-22, F-16, C-5, P-3 and F-35 aircraft. The expanded facility can support production of up to 20 F-35 canopy units a month.

The F-35 is expected to be one of the largest military aircraft programs in history, covering thousands of aircraft to be produced for air forces worldwide over several decades. The F-35 Lightning II is designed to combine advanced stealth technology with fighter speed and agility. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin employs about 123,000 people worldwide and focuses on the research, design, development, manufacturing, and integration of technology systems, products and services. Its net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion.

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