The F-35 Contributes to the Global Economy


Global partnerships and technological innovation lay the foundation for the F-35 Lightning II. The program builds on aerospace industry capabilities from around the world, offering sustained growth in technology, development and employment for all nine partner countries involved.

F-35 international partner countries currently constitute a production program of record of more than 3,100 aircraft to be built through 2039. Analysts believe that the F-35 will contribute more than $380 billion to the global economy over the life of the program. The program will also provide billions more in additional U.S. export revenue for the nearly 1,500 aircraft destined for global partners and other allies.


The F-35 is also building tens of thousands of high quality employment opportunities for countries involved with the program, allowing international aerospace and defense companies to grow, expand, invest and position themselves for future success. These companies are also feeding new technologies and ideas into the aircraft development, leading to unprecedented technology transfer and innovation that is invaluable to the aircraft’s development.

Rolls-Royce F-35 Manufacturing

Photo Credit: Rolls-Royce

Here are just a few examples of how the F-35’s global partners are contributing to and benefiting from work on the F-35 program:


  • The F-35 program creates thousands of direct and indirect jobs for skilled aerospace workers in Australia. Specific products include vertical tails, advanced composites as well as machined aluminum and titanium detail parts used throughout the F-35 aircraft.
  • Currently, there are 17 Australian suppliers under contract on the F-35 program with additional opportunities for work over the next 30 years. 
  • The Australian Department of Defence recently launched Australia’s New Air Combat Capability (NACC) program to support Australian manufacturers of the F-35.


  • More than 110 Canada companies have participated in the development and production of the F-35, and more than 80 Canadian companies are performing work today.
  • According to Statistics Canada model projections, the F-35 production work will support thousands of jobs over the life of the program.
  • From machined parts to targeting system components and engine sensors to outboard wings, Canadian companies are building a number of components for all three F-35 variants.


  • F-35 production is already contributing to meaningful and lasting industrial partnerships in Denmark with several Danish companies, including Terma, Systematic, Printca Graphic and Danish Aerotech.
  •  Danish companies are currently making parts such as pylons, advanced composites, software solutions, radar components and horizontal tail edges, on every single F-35 in production.
  • Denmark will continue to benefit from being a partner on the program as additional foreign military sales countries join the program, furthering Denmark’s export opportunities in the future.


  • Italian F-35 production is expected to generate thousands of jobs at peak production, with wings, communication and navigation equipment, advanced rail launchers and final assembly and check out of completed F-35’s for Italy. Future sustainment work also has the potential to generate additional jobs for Italian workers.
  • More than 90 contracts have been awarded to Italian businesses in support of the F-35 program with 27 Italian companies helping to build the F-35 along with numerous Italian subcontractors.


  • The Netherlands is critical to the development, production and sustainment of the F-35, contributing to the high-volume production of composites, bonded assemblies, and aircraft wiring.
  • Twenty-five Dutch suppliers are currently under contract on the F-35 program, creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs for skilled aerospace workers.


  • Norwegian industry is involved in the production of high technology components for the F-35, such as the aircraft rudder, air-to-air pylon, vertical fin leading edge, advanced composite skins for the center fuselage and assembly and coating of the horizontal and vertical fins. They also fabricate and assemble key electronic components within the F-35 Mission Systems.
  • Norwegian industries awarded F-35 contracts include Kongsberg Defence Systems, Kitron, AIM Norway and Applica, to name a few.   
  • The Norwegian government is funding the development of a drag chute system for operations on short and icy runways, and Norwegian company Kongsberg is developing the Joint Strike Missile for integration in the F-35.

United Kingdom

  • U.K. industry will build 15 percent of each of the more than 3,000 planned F-35s, generating significant revenue and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
  • In the United Kingdom alone, the F-35 program is projected to generate thousands of high-tech, sustainable jobs through 2039.
  • U.K. industry produces key components of the F-35 including the aft fuselage, fuel system, crew escape system and more. Key suppliers in the U.K. include BAE Systems, GE Aviation, Martin-Baker, SELEX, Cobham, Ultra Electronics, UTC Actuation Systems and Rolls-Royce.

Learn more about F-35 global industrial participation.

July 3, 2014