Pics of the Day: The F-35’s Mid Section

In case you’ve ever wondered what an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter looks like while its still under construction, now you know. These pics show the mid-fuselage section of the 69th F-35 being prepped for delivery to Lockheed Martin from F-35-subcontractor Northrop Grumman.

Remember, Lockheed designed the jet and does all the final assembly, but Northrop and BAE Systems are the biggest of many subcontractors on the project, they both produce a serious amount of the airplane, with Northrop’s contribution to the actual fuselage shown in these pictures. Notice how sensitive parts of the new fuselage are all wrapped up in brown paper, like a new toy on Christmas wrapped by some crazy uncle.


  • Pat

    Does anyone know how many f-35s are planned?

    • Juuso

      They are planning to buy at least 2000 F-35’s.

      I’m suprised if they actually build more than 1000 F-35. If you look other stealth projects (F-22 and B-2) none of them have ever been produced in numbers originally planned. Ben Rich was thinking (Read he’s book) in the 70’s that USAF would buy hundreds of F-117’s, but that didn’t happen in reality. What are the reasons to believe that F-35 will not share this same fate?

    • RunningBear

      2300+ for US military (1700+ USAF)
      700+ for foreign military
      3000+ total

    • xmilnav

      what the fuck are we seeing these pictures for….this is xzacilly what is wrong with this country…. ant nothing but a bunch of sell-outs

  • LtKitty

    Just like playing with Legos!

  • 4FingerOfBouron

    Not sensitive, trying to hold down on FOD

  • Riceball

    Seeing has Northrop-Grumman is a major sub-contractor and looks to be doing a big chunk of the work can we really be blaming Lockheed for everything that goes wrong? But I’m sure that the haters will still manage to spin it so that it’s still all Lockheed’s fault and that they’re in cahoots with Northrop to bilk the US taxpayer.

  • Marc

    Instead of thinking about cost of F-35, the delays and all the other hick-ups, it’s looking like job security for a lot of people. Those tax payers who’s companies have sub contracts, to produce components or other wise for the F-35, see years of job security.

  • some guy

    The primary contractor is always held at fault for the transgressions of the sub-contractors. The primary contractor is resposnsible for any and all actions or failures, and are also allowed the primary glory , if any.

  • Lance

    Looks nice. For the military just make a universal C model for all. Save the program from the failure its faceing.

  • Guest

    Due to this concurrency rubbish aren’t all F-35s technically still under construction?

  • The F-35 program is still alive and well, sucking up billions of dollars on outdated technology.

  • 4FingerOfBourbon

    Well I have to applaud the theory of multiple contractors converging on a project in order to cut cost and provide the latest and greatest. It was a good try. However, I feel that competitive bidding and from sole source contractors may prove to be more financially responsible.

    • blight_

      This divide-and-conquer methodology is also partly to ensure that other companies remain intact, unlike the massive contractions that came about near the end of WW2 and near the end of the Cold War.

    • P3_Super_Bee

      This isn’t anything new…. You must be to the aviation world to not know this… Boeing was a sub contractor on the F-22. Been this way since at least the WWII days, when everyone was building everyone’s aircraft.

  • Dean J

    Check out those custom chrome wheels on the trailer! :)

  • alex

    just makes my day seeing this stuff.

  • tee

    Today from Canada and I quote from the headline “Canada has frozen the budget it had for buying F-35 fighter jets, and says it will restart its entire acquisition process after the country’s government spending watchdog reported the decision to buy Joint Strike Fighters was based on bad data from officials who deliberately downplayed the costs and risks.”

  • Michael Anderson

    Isn’t anyone concerned about security? How and why did this get posted on the internet? With China being the main player is ESPIONAGE, this causes me concern. I was active duty U S Army years ago, but I don’t think stuff like this needs to be posted on the internet

  • Mike

    Absolutely nothing shown in the pics is of any value. Believe it or not, most large contractors have much better security than their government counterparts.


    The brown paper covers doors, vents, and openings. All in the name of FOD protection while in transit. The real goodies get installed much later.