What’s it like to fly the world’s most advanced military aircraft? Members of the media and invited guests found out May 28 as Lockheed Martin brought its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II interactive cockpit demonstrator to Honeywell Aerospace in Phoenix.
Before taking the controls of the most flexible, technologically sophisticated fighter ever built, they also heard about the F-35’s role in protecting national security and the program’s economic impact across the U.S. and within Arizona.
Guest speakers Carey Smith, President of Honeywell’s Defense & Space business, and U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego from Arizona’s 7th Congressional District noted the ways that impact is felt.
“With the forecasted aircraft build rates expected to triple in three years, the F-35 program is one of the main growth engines for the Honeywell Aerospace Defense & Space business,” Smith told attendees.
“We are proud to be on this Lockheed Martin team, and we look forward to supporting the growth of this next-generation aircraft that will protect our nation and allies for decades to come.”
Gallego called the F-35 “critical to our U.S. defense strategy,” noting it provides “the most advanced technology in the world.”
“It will serve as the backbone of our future fighter fleet, not only for our U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marines, but for the fleets of eight international partners and other allies who are investing in and procuring these aircraft,” he said.
Honeywell is one of 27 first-tier F-35 suppliers in Arizona, producing mechanical parts and subsystems for the 5th generation fighter from 13 of its sites worldwide. The program has more than 1,200 suppliers in 45 states and Puerto Rico.
The event was held at Honeywell’s Engines facility, which produces the integrated power package for the F-35 power thermal management system. The integrated power package saves both weight and space by combining a conventional auxiliary power unit, an emergency power unit and an environment control system into a single mechanical power system. The F-35 is the first fighter aircraft with the revolutionary advancement.