THE first horizontal tail assembly built in Winnipeg by Bristol Aerospace and installed on an F-35A Lightning II aircraft was successfully flown last Wednesday near Fort Worth, Texas.
Bristol, a division of Magellan Aerospace Corp. of Mississauga, Ont., is contracted to build about 1,000 of the horizontal tail pieces for the conventional takeoff and landing version of the F-35 Lightning, as well as vane-box assemblies that house the engines for the short-takeoff, vertical-landing version of the jet, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter.
Magellan has said work it has been contracted to do on the F-35 by sub-contractors BAE and Rolls Royce and the jet's main contractor, Lockheed Martin, could be worth as much as $2 billion over the next 20 years.
The bulk of that work is being done in Winnipeg, but some is also being done at Magellan's Kitchener, Ont., and New York plants.
The Canadian government has not made its final decision as to whether it will buy the expensive fighter jets, but has completed a review of the market and potential options. The government is expected to announce its final decision on purchasing the planes shortly.