F-35 Equals 27,000 California Jobs

A recent editorial penned by Thomas J. Brandon, describes the home field advantages for California aerospace workers who manufacture components for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“Perhaps more than any other state in the country, California significantly benefits from the F-35’s development and production,” said Brandon, who serves as California Conference of Machinists Secretary-Treasurer. “The Golden State is home to nearly 300 manufacturers that provide over 27,000 direct and indirect jobs and more than $6 billion in economic impact across the state. Even at the F-35’s current low production rate of three to four aircraft per month, those numbers are incredible and only serve to remind us just how important the aerospace industry is to California, especially in the wake of the nation’s economic crisis.”

Brandon cites California’s near-11 percent unemployment rate, the third highest in the nation, as evidence that the Golden State can ill-afford a decrease in production rates for the supersonic stealth fighter.

“The (F-35) program is not just a practical military solution; it’s also an economical one,” said Brandon. “By coming in three variants for all our services – the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Navy — and our allies, the F-35 takes advantage of both economy of scale and economy of commonality. But it’s absolutely essential that production quantities remain intact and production rates are consistently increased until full rate production is achieved. This will ensure a cost-efficient strategy and offer companies across the state the opportunity to hire even more highly skilled employees.”

Brandon concluded by calling on California’s elected officials to pledge their support for this vital program, calling it “a quantum leap in capability and survivability” that will create hi-tech jobs and build the highly-skilled workforce essential to the U.S. and California’s economy.

“It’s not every day that we have the opportunity to protect our interests at home and abroad,” said Brandon. “Let’s show our support for a program that does just that.”