IAI aims to complete F-35 wing facility in mid-2014

Tel Aviv
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Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) expects to complete construction of its new manufacturing facility to produce wings for the Lockheed Martin F-35 by mid-2014.

Building work commenced on the factory earlier this year following an agreement between the two companies, although the schedule for completion has been advanced under technical supervision by Lockheed personnel. The site will eventually produce 811 wing pairs for the Joint Strike Fighter.

Flightglobal visited the site in mid-August, when workers were completing the wing production floors.

IAI's contribution to the programme is part of an offset deal stemming from Israel's decision to purchase an initial 20 examples of the F-35A for its air force.

IAI expects to begin production of the wings for the stealthy fighter in 2015, with the first shipsets destined for Israel's fighters.

The company's contract with Lockheed Martin covers 10-15 years of production and could be worth as much as $2.5 billion.

Israel has expressed its intention to purchase as many as 75 F-35s.