Lockheed Martin’s need to spread its wings for F-35 production at its Fort Worth plant has already nudged out the F-16 program, which is moving to South Carolina. But that wasn’t enough.
The day after the company made public its plans to move the F-16 to Greensboro, S.C., Lockheed Martin announced it will expand into a new facility at its Johnstown, Pa., location to produce F-35 components.
The expansion will create 40 new jobs at the central Pennsylvania plant by 2018.
Lockheed Martin AeroParts in Johnstown, Pa., specializes in manufacturing and assembly of aircraft components for a number of aircraft built by the company.
“The majority of this work is done in Fort Worth, but the capacity we need exceeds the physical space we have — though it is growing over the next year,” spokesman Ken Ross said. “Our business in Johnstown does similar work for multiple platforms.”
Lockheed is completing its plan to lease and equip an additional facility to accommodate the new work in Pennsylvania, the company said. It hopes to begin producing a subset of parts by the fourth quarter of this year, which will be sent to Fort Worth for final assembly.
“The F-35 Lightning II is beginning the transition to full-rate production and the manufacturing expertise we have here has a growing role in delivering this incredible aircraft,” Gilda Jackson, general manager of Lockheed Martin AeroParts, said in a prepared statement.
Lockheed said it will begin moving the F-16 production line by the end of the year after delivering the last of the jets to Iraq in September.