F-35: the challenges of one-a-day manufacture

17 October 2017

BAE Systems Park Centre


The F35 Lightning II programme is the largest single defence contract every awarded at $1.5 trillion dollars. A 5th generation aircraft with a target price per copy of $65m dollars and over 3,000 aircraft projected to be produced by 2035 with sustainment and upgrade options to 2065 it presents a very different business proposition for the 3 main contributors to the programme – Lockhead Martin (prime), Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Current expected build rates peak at 179 aircraft per year which approaches the term “one a day manufacture” – (there being 204 manufacturing days in the year). This talk covers BAE Systems history, the current market challenges for aircraft manufacture, programme concept/launch, development, the facility transition and layout, operational and logistics challenges and the people & systems cultural change required to achieve the demanding customer requirements of this programme.

Visitors welcome: admission £2 (RAeS members and students free).

For more information, contact Dr Mike Philpot, Publicity Secretary.

Speaker Details

Jon Evans, BAE Systems, Military Air (Salmesbury)

Jon Evans studied Mechanical & Production Engineering at Aston University, before going on to complete a Masters Degree in Engineering Business Management at Warwick University. His career started at ICI Acrylics as a sponsored graduate, before joining BAE Systems in 1991.  Since then he has held many roles across manufacturing and project management.  His early career was on Tornado, Airbus and T35 Goshawk before progressing to executive roles on Typhoon, starting with the transformation for initial and rate production and culminating with hand-over across Europe. More recently he has been involved with Customer Change Programmes, workload repatriation to site and running the Typhoon & F35 detail businesses at Samlesbury site. Currently, as Head of Operations for F35 Assembly, his responsibilities include the necessary transformation investment work for rate production, to cover sub assembly build, main assembly build / test, spray and machining work across multiple shifts with circa 350 people today rising to 500 over the next 2 years.


BAE Systems Park Centre

Farnborough Aerospace Centre
GU14 6XN