Patria Confirms Forward Fuselage Work For F-35

Credit: Michael Farmer/Alamy

LE BOURGET—Finnish manufacturer Patria has confirmed a promised role in the Lockheed Martin F-35 program, signing an agreement on June 19 during the Paris Air Show to produce forward fuselages for stealth fighters ordered by the Finnish air force and other users. 

The joint announcement by Patria and Lockheed executives comes about 18 months after Finland selected the F-35A to replace a fleet of Boeing F/A-18 Hornets. 

Lockheed had pledged to award Patria a role as a second source for producing forward fuselages for the F-35 during the competition for Finland’s H-X contract. 

“The large-scale assembly of 400 forward fuselages will take Patria's industrial capabilities to the next level,” said Petri Hepola, Patria’s F-35 chief program officer.

Finland has ordered 64 F-35As and related equipment and services in a deal estimated to cost $11 billion. 

Patria also has been offered final assembly of the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine in Finland.

In both cases, Patria’s workforce will augment Lockheed and Pratt employees performing the same work in the U.S., helping to expand the F-35 program’s global industrial capacity. 

The move follows a similar agreement announced earlier this year with Rheinmetall to establish a second facility for assembling F-35 center fuselages in Germany. That decision came months after Germany announced plans to buy 32 F-35As for the Luftwaffe.

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.