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GKN Aerospace to double F-35 canopy production capacity as demand ramps up

  • New production line for GKN Aerospace’s Garden Grove site, in California
  • The move will double manufacturing capacity of critical F-35 canopies and reinforce GKN Aerospace’s leadership position in military transparencies
  • Demand coming from both OE production and aftermarket

GKN Aerospace announced plans to double the F-35 canopy production capacity of its Garden Grove, California, site, creating more than 100 new jobs. A customer investment of up to $150m will support tools and equipment for the state-of-the-art new production line, which will help meet continued demand for the F-35 Lightning II over the next decade. Since the start of the programme, GKN Aerospace has provided F-35s worldwide with its unique high-performance cockpit canopy.

The expansion will be completed by January 2027 and will see the new production line built near GKN Aerospace’s existing Garden Grove facility. It will create skilled roles across a range of disciplines, including manufacturing and engineering. GKN Aerospace currently employs around 540 people at its industry-leading Garden Grove site, which designs, manufactures and provides aftermarket support for advanced military and commercial transparencies.

Shawn Black President of GKN Aerospace’s Defence Airframe business said: “We’re proud and honoured to support the F-35 for the next decade. This investment is a crucial step, enabling us to provide the growing international F-35 fleet with the very latest transparencies technology, to help keep servicemen and women safe around the world. The agreements will also see more than 100 highly skilled jobs created at GKN Aerospace, as well as supporting thousands more jobs in the global supply chain. This investment is a win for GKN Aerospace, the F-35 programme and the many countries it supports, and the team can’t wait to ramp up our production and deliver.”

Since the start of the programme, GKN Aerospace has provided the F-35 with the cockpit canopies, critical engine components, electrical wiring interconnection systems and advanced composite aerostructures. It also holds contracts to deliver the in-flight opening doors, flaperons and the arresting gear.

Canada has ordered the F-35A Lightning II fighter jet, with deliveries starting in 2026. This cutting-edge aircraft offers unmatched technology crucial for modern and emerging multi-domain warfare. The F-35 will replace the CF-18 Hornet fleet, marking a critical first step for NORAD modernization, domain awareness, and ensuring national and Arctic security. The contract includes associated equipment and weapons, setup training, and sustainment services.

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