A Delta manufacturing facility that builds a key component for the most advanced jet fighter in the world is waiting for the ramifications of a recent announcement of defense spending cuts in the U.S.
The Asco Aerospace Ltd. plant on River Road manufactures the main bulkheads for the Joint Strike Fighter jet.
The Lockheed Martin F-35s, the stealth fighter in the international Joint Strike Fighter program, is a single-seat, single-engine, ultra high-tech jet fighter.
It's been described as the world's most advanced fighter aircraft, having "next-generation technologies" and "unprecedented capabilities."
Canada also joined the Joint Strike Fighter program with the U.S. and its other allies, in anticipation of the Canadian Forces' need to replace its current fleet of CF-18s.
The Conservative government had planned to have Canada receive its F-35s between 2016 and 2023.
Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed that $488 billion U.S. in Pentagon budget cuts would affect the purchase of the fighter jets.
The move will also likely impact Canada's timeline for acquiring fighter jets
Saying they'll have to wait and see how things unfold, Kevin Russell, Asco Aerospace vice-president and CEO, told the Optimist he doesn't anticipate any cutbacks.
"It's very early to really know what the impact is but we have an expectation what the impact will be. Right now, there are so many unknowns with all the decisions of the government in the U.S., so it will be another six months or so before it trickles down to us.
"The expectation is the production will not ramp up as quickly as it was supposed to. Our expectation is that we will maintain at a slower production rate for the next couple of years, where the next couple of years it was supposed to increase quite significantly, and so the whole thing will be drawn out over a much longer period of time."
Asco Aerospace Canada Ltd. also produces aircraft components for companies such as Boeing and Bombardier. It's the Canadian subsidiary of Asco Industries, a privately owned Belgian corporation.
Meanwhile, another Delta facility, Avcorp Industries on River Way, is also involved in the Joint Strike Fighter jet program. It recently celebrated the delivery of the first F-35 Carrier Variant Outboard Wing.
Government officials attended a Jan. 19 ceremony held at the firm's Delta assembly plant, where it was announced the company is delivering the first F-35 production wing unit to a final assembly line at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas.
The outboard wing is the foldable portion of the wing on the carrier version of the F-35. It allows for easier handling and storage of the aircraft on a carrier's deck and hangars.
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