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They'll see jets' future

By Scott Barancik, Times Staff Writer
Published August 24, 2007


Next month, Lockheed Martin's factory in Pinellas Park will begin assembling canopies for the F-35 Lightning II, the U.S. military's next-generation fighter jet. Like a high-tech car windshield, the canopies will protect pilots from the elements, birds and other hazards. (In an actual test, not even a frozen chicken traveling at 633 mph cracked it.) By 2012, Lockheed and its partners expect to deliver up to 300 of the jets each year at a cost of $45-million to $60-million each. "You provide the aircraft that (U.S.) soldiers want to see overhead," U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young told the factory's 200 workers Thursday during its 10-year anniversary celebration. The factory opened with 80 staff members in 1997 and could add as many as 30 more by 2012. Annual wages there total $7.5-million.

[Last modified August 23, 2007, 23:01:13]

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