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Lightning aircraft to take centre stage at BAE Systems site
9:00pm Monday 30th December 2013 in News
TWO Lightning aircraft will take centre stage at the entrance of BAE Systems in Samlesbury, replacing the popular model that acted as the site’s ‘guardian’ until it was removed in February.
The new model aircrafts will be an English Electric Lightning and F-35 Lightning II, which the firm believes will represent the past, present and future of the Lancashire site.
Planning permission for both of the full-scale aircraft models was granted earlier in the year and the pair will land on Samlesbury soil in summer next year.
Ian Wood, Samlesbury site director, said: “The Lancashire weather had really taken its toll on the previous Lightning aircraft and it got to a point where we had to remove it. When that happened, we were inundated with calls and concerns from employees and members of the community.
“That aircraft was part of our identity, part of our proud heritage.
“That’s why I’m delighted to share our plans for two new gate guardians in 2014.
“The English Electric Lightning represents a proud past and the Lightning II a bright future.
“I can’t wait to see the look on people’s faces when they get to see the two side by side.”
The English Electric Lightning holds a special place in the history of the North West as it was the first completely British designed and built fighter aircraft able to fly at twice the speed of sound.
It was a turning point in aviation history with the first production aircraft making its maiden flight from Samlesbury on the 3rd November 1959.
Currently, the site employs over 4,000 people, 1,000 of whom work directly on the F-35 Lightning II programme.
The F-35 Lightning II is multi-role, all weather attack aircraft that can operate from both and and sea.
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