Friday, August 20, 2010

Lockheed Martin warns against delays to JSF orders

Industrial participation by international partners in the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme could be affected if firm commitments to buy the aircraft are delayed or amended, Tom Burbage, the general manager and executive vice president for the F-35 programme, warned on 17 August.

Burbage told Jane's that the eight international partner nations - Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and the UK - were "still soft on production schedules".
To date, only five aircraft of the anticipated 800-plus international sales have been contracted by partner countries - three operational test aircraft for the UK and two for the Netherlands.

Other nations are seeking changes in their delivery schedules. "There is a sort of a gentleman's agreement in this game that ties industrial participation to buying airplanes," said Burbage.

"Industrial participation is all going on today in advance of anyone making a formal decision to buy an airplane." "If, at some point in time, somebody says we are not going to buy any airplanes, that puts us in a pretty difficult situation, so there is a trust factor, sort of a partnership factor, that goes along with being part of the programme," he said.

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