The cockpit demonstrator for the F-35 Lightning II, a 5th Generation fighter jet was showcased by Lockheed Martin Wednesday morning at GKN Aerospace in Blue Ash to local officials and media. GKN makes several components for the fighter jet including the canopy and parts for the internal engine.
According to GKN vice president and general manager James Burkhardt the company has about 250 local employees working on components for the F-35. Work on the F-35 has resulted in 15 or 20 new jobs at GKN, and there is the potential for more work that could add an additional 10 to 15 jobs. GKN is hosting a career fair on Sept. 6 at its Deerfield Road facility to fill those positions. GKN has invested about $13 million in the Cincinnati area as part of its commitment to the F-35. GKN Aerospace is one of the world’s largest independent first tier suppliers to the global aviation industry. With over 100 years aerospace experience, they employ approximately 12,000 people in more than 35 facilities across 4 continents.
Congressman Brad Wenstrup estimates that there are 3,000 jobs in our area directly and indirectly tied to the F-35 project. Wenstrup, who supports the F-35, is an Iraq war veteran and Army reservist. Rep. Brad Wenstrup was one of many local officials and F-35 supporters that checked out the flight simulator The F-35 cockpit demonstrator uses the same technology to train the pilots who fly the plane. Lockheed Martin has been taking the mobile cockpit simulator to companies who make the components for the F-35 such as GKN.
The F-35 combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility. The advanced stealth design allows pilots to penetrate areas without being detected by radars that earlier designed fighters cannot evade. Three variants of the F-35 will replace many of the US aging fighter inventories including the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least ten other countries.
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has continued a steady path of flight test milestones in August, including weapons separation, software compatibility and flight hours, all demonstrating program maturity. TheF-35 is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth-generation multirole fighters to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability. There are three main variants; the F-35A is a conventional takeoff and landing variant (CTOL) for the US Air Force , the F-35B is a short take-off and vertical-landing variant (STOVL) for the U.S. Marine Corps , and the F-35C is a carrier-based variant for the US Navy.