Flight-testing of the Lockheed Martin F-35 is ahead of the 2012 plan, and software development is making up lost ground, now standing at two months behind schedule. Steve O’Bryan, Lockheed Martin’s v-p for F-35 program integration and business development, told a meeting in London sponsored by The Air League that the F-35B STOVL version that the UK will buy is 40 percent ahead on flights and test points. Of the nine million lines of software code in the aircraft, 87 percent is now in flight test, with another 6 percent in laboratory tests.
BAE Systems, not Lockheed Martin, will upgrade the avionics of some 130 Korean air force F-16C/Ds. A spokesman for Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in Seoul that his agency will request the BAE package as a U.S. foreign military sale (FMS).
The UK formally accepted the first F-35 Lightning II for an international customer on July 19. “Having taken decisions on the final designs of our new aircraft carriers and balanced the MoD’s budget we can now proceed confidently to regenerating our carrier strike capability with these cutting-edge stealth combat aircraft,” said British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond.
Lockheed Martin executives contend that a new Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) that will provide long-term maintenance support for the F-35 Lightning II is evolving in line with the fighter. The ALIS was cited among F-35 program risks in a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.
Competition in the F-16 upgrade market is heating up, with Boeing joining BAE Systems in challenging Lockheed Martin’s dominance as OEM. Boeing is touting the experience it gained recently in converting F-16s to unmanned drones for the U.S. Air Force. BAE Systems continues to emphasize its 270-aircraft upgrade for the U.S. National Guard, as a basis for securing international work.
Lockheed Martin signed an agreement with Marshall Aerospace this week that makes the Cambridge, UK-based company the first in the world to be authorized to install C-130 center wing boxes. The CWB is the main load-bearing component in the C-130 airframe and is the one that largely determines the aircraft’s service life. Therefore, replacing the CWB can give the Hercules many years more life.
Rolls-Royce broke ground last month on a $50 million jet engine test facility at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. It is the company’s second test facility on the site and is expected to generate 35 new jobs. It will be used to conduct research, development, crosswind, thrust reverse, cycle and endurance tests on all Rolls-Royce civil aerospace engines.
In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a “phased adaptive approach” (PAA) for the missile defense of Europe to be deployed in four phases with a mix of sea- and land-based assets. A critical element is the Raytheon Standard Missile 3 interceptor, which in its Block 1A configuration forms the basis of PAA Phase I capability, which has now been implemented.
GE Aviation has announced here at the show that it is to provide the data link for Lockheed Martin’s Block 8.1 upgrade for the C-130J Hercules. Lockheed Martin was awarded a $167 million upgrade contract by the U.S. Air Force in December, and has selected GE Aviation (Hall 4 Stand B7) to provide the advanced communication, navigation and air traffic management data link.
Denmark’s Terma has been awarded a contract by Lockheed Martin to provide its AN/ALQ-213A defensive aids controller and associated engineering services to support integration of a missile warning system on C-130J Super Hercules for an international customer.
The Terma AN/ALQ-213A (Hall 2 Stand C26) gives C-130J customers an affordable option to move to an enhanced defensive systems suite with a choice of sensors and countermeasures subsystems.