Three bolts of lightning.
BAE Systems has begun manufacture of the Carrier Variant (CV) of
the F-35 Lightning II fighter, meaning all three variants are being
produced concurrently by the company. Initial manufacture is of the
first titanium and aluminium frames of the aft fuselage which, with the
empennage for each variant, are being designed, engineered and built by
BAE Systems. The CV variant is due for first flight in 2009. BAE Systems
currently begins a new aircraft assembly every four weeks--the System
Development and Demonstration phase of the programme will see 21 test
aircraft built; six for static testing and 15 to undergo flight tests
for the US and British forces.