The Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta got some welcome news this week.
With production of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet winding down, employees at the Lockheed facility have been looking to the company’s delay-plagued F-35 Lightning II fighter program to keep many of them in work, AJC reporter David Markiewicz writes.
Officials announced this week that assembly of the center wing on the stealth fighter will be starting — and soon, Markiewicz reports. Preliminary work starts Friday with a startup crew of 10, with employment on the project expected to reach about 600 by the time full production is under way in 2016.
The company said 175 employees now on the F-22 line eventually will be put to work on the new aircraft, which is smaller and cheaper than the F-22. Another 425 workers will be hired over time for the F-35 production line. Total employment at the plant stands at 7,800.
The F-35 is primarily assembled at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, plant. Some work was expected to come to Marietta, but the number of jobs was uncertain, Markiewicz writes.
“This comes at a real good time,” Denise Rakestraw, president of Local 709 of the International Association of Machinists, told Markiewicz. Employees now working on the F-22, she said, “can just transition over.”
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