News

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Cockpit Demonstrator Lands at M2 Global

Your Chamber joined U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales (TX-23), Lockheed Martin, F-35 supplier M2 Global, local elected officials, and community leaders, for an update on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet and the program’s positive impact on the Texas and U.S. economies.

Using the cockpit demonstrator for a virtual flight, Rep. Gonzales experienced firsthand the unmatched agility, unparalleled stealth capabilities, and advanced integrated communications systems that make the F-35 the world’s most advanced fighter jet. The fully interactive, cockpit demonstrator provides an unprecedented look at the F-35’s exceptional maneuverability and ability to avoid air-to-air or air-to-ground threats while collecting and providing critical intelligence to support combat operations.

“The F-35 is the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world, and continued investment in this program is essential to our national security and ensuring the United States maintains its air dominance in the near-peer competition with Russia and China,” Rep. Gonzales said. “It is exactly the kind of advanced fighter jet that the brave men and women of our military deserve. The F-35 goes beyond its unmatched capabilities as evidenced by the event today. Many of the workers at M2 Global are veterans themselves and communities across Texas are integral to the manufacturing and sustainment of the F-35. As a newly elected member for the 23rd District, I look forward to supporting this aircraft because of its importance to our national security and to the people of Texas.”

M2 Global is part of a global supply chain that includes over 1,800 American companies producing various components for the aircraft.  “We are honored to have Rep. Gonzales visit our facility and see how M2 and the F-35 are strengthening San Antonio’s regional economy and our national security,” said Doug Carlberg, M2 Global President and CEO. “We produce more than 900 components for the F-35 and these contracts represent more than one-third of the work done by our 65 assemblers and machinists. It’s reassuring to know that Rep. Gonzales supports the F-35 and the jobs that come with it for our district.”

Across Texas, 111 companies of all sizes support the F-35, including the final assembly plant in Fort Worth. The economic impact to Texas is more than $10.5 billion which supports more than 55,000 jobs. “The aerospace industry is a significant economic driver, employing over 9,900 individuals and contributing $1.6 billion to the regional economy. M2 Global’s partnership with Lockheed Martin illustrates our long-standing commitment to national security. This mission will continue to grow our community’s aerospace industry,” said Rey Chavez, president and CEO of the San Antonio Manufacturers Association.

More than 660 F-35s have been delivered, and today the fighter is supporting the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marines along with the military of 13 allied nations including Great Britain, Italy, Israel, and South Korea. M2 Global and other supplier partners continue improving manufacturing processes to deliver parts efficiently and on time to support Lockheed Martin’s delivery schedule. This has helped drive down the price-per-jet cost to below $80 million.

Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 in conjunction with its principal partners, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, and Pratt & Whitney. Among the aircraft, the F-35 will replace are the A-10, AV-8B Harrier, F-16, F/A-18, and the United Kingdom’s Harrier GR-7 and Sea Harrier.

The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce continues to advocate and support our local aviation and aerospace industries and is proud to highlight the great work being accomplished by our military missions, as well as invaluable Chamber members such as Lockheed Martin and M2 Global. For ways to engage and participate in the Chamber’s Aerospace Committee, email Jeff Fair at jfair@sachamber.org or call 210-229-2199.

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