Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lockheed, Pentagon reach agreement on new F-35 contract, - Britian and Israel confirm new purchases

(My NOTE: I included this news as Advanced Photonix (API) performs the paint and other  Exterior inspections on the F-35, using Terahertz. (Thanks to John daly!)


Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon announced a deal Monday on a production contract for the next batch of F-35 fighter jets, which is projected to lower the price per plane by 3.6 percent.
The contract, expected to be finalized in the next several weeks, would cover 43 F-35 aircraft including 29 for the U.S. military, the first two for Israel, the first four for Japan, four for the United Kingdom and two each for Norway and Italy.
Deliveries from what is known as “Low-Rate Initial Production lot 8” would begin in 2016. The Pentagon said cost details will be released later, but sources told Reuters last week that it is worth about $4 billion.
In a statement, Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the top Pentagon official over the F-35, said the agreement represents the program’s “ongoing maturation.”
“Once production of [the new contract’s] aircraft is completed, more than 200 F-35s will be in operation by eight nations,” he said.
The F-35, which is being built in west Fort Worth, has been dogged by technical problems and cost overruns for years but has made progress on both fronts in the past year.
In the summer, however, the U.S. military’s fleet was grounded after an engine caught fire at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., forcing the Pentagon to cancel the F-35’s scheduled appearance at the high-profile Farnborough International Airshow in England. Officials have identified the cause of the fire, and flight testing has resumed with more frequent engine inspections.
In July in Fort Worth, the Pentagon’s top acquisition chief said the engine fire was unlikely to delay a planned increase in production, which is needed to reduce the average cost of the plane, currently around $100 million. Lockheed and the Pentagon are aiming to boost production of the F-35, now at about 36 a year, to more than 120 a year by the end of the decade.
More than 6,000 people work directly on the F-35 program in west Fort Worth, and increased production could add upward of 1,000 jobs over several years, Lockheed officials have said.
On Monday, a top Lockheed F-35 executive said the new production contract is indicative of efforts to make the plane more affordable.
“Affordability is a key performance parameter in today’s challenging acquisition environment.” Lockheed F-35 program manager Lorraine Martin said in a statement. “Working together with our suppliers, we are making steady progress in reducing F-35 costs.”

Israel to buy 25 more F-35 Lockheed stealth fighters: sources

(Reuters) - Israel plans to buy a second batch of Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth fighter jets, bringing its total number on order to about 44, Israeli defense and U.S. sources said on Tuesday.
Israel bought 19 F-35s for $2.75 billion in 2010, a deal that included options for up to 75 planes. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, visiting the United States last week, placed a preliminary order for about 25 more F-35s, the defense sources said without elaborating on cost. see more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/28/us-israel-defence-lockheed-martin-idUSKBN0IH14T20141028

Britain to confirm first F-35 orders 'within weeks'

London (AFP) - Britain on Tuesday announced an agreement in principle with US manufacturer Lockheed Martin for an order for the first of 14 F-35B combat jets, with a formal contract expected "within weeks".
The four Lightning II stealth combat aircraft will operate from both of the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers and Royal Air Force land bases, with another 10 due to be ordered over the next five years. see more:

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/10/27/6235225/lockheed-pentagon-reach-agreement.html#storylink=cpy

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