If Lockheed Martin is to be believed, there’s not much wrong with the F-35 program. In a briefing here yesterday, vice president F-35 business development Steve O’Bryan stuck doggedly to the company mantra that development is moving right along, with plenty of accomplishments despite the slow pace of flight testing.
Singapore’s choice of an advanced jet training system is due next month and could be crucial to the future export prospects of Italy’s M-346 Master and Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle. These dissimilar training jets have been bid here by rival prime contractors, ST Aero and Lockheed Martin, respectively.
When Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) developed the T-50 Golden Eagle in partnership with Lockheed Martin in 2001 hopes were high in South Korea that the only supersonic trainer jet would become a hit around the world. Nine years later, industry opinion remains divided as to whether this potential will be fulfilled and what has actually been achieved to this end since KAI entered a joint marketing effort with Lockheed Martin in 2006.
The VH-71 presidential helicopter program, which was terminated in May by the Secretary of Defense, received life support on December 19 when the President signed the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Bill. Earlier last year, Obama had threatened to veto the bill if it contained funding for the program.
Business aviation pioneer Dee Howard died on February 11 in San Antonio. He was 84. Howard started his own company, Howard Aero, in 1947 and began converting Lockheed B-34/PV-1 Venturas into an executive transport known as the Howard 250. His Super Ventura mod became the Howard 350, and then he turned his attention to the Howard 500, a pressurized nearly scratch-built radial-engine twin that competed with Grumman’s Gulfstream turboprop twin.
Limited funding for the Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland VH-71 presidential helicopter, which is based on the three-engine AgustaWestland AW101, has made it into the final FY2010 U.S. defense appropriations bill (H.R. 3326), reviving the machine’s chances of one day flying the President. At the direction of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the Pentagon terminated the program on May 15 last year.
Lockheed Martin is showing off its Airborne Multi-intelligence Laboratory (AML) here at the Dubai Airshow as part of its campaign to offer the aircraft’s unique talents to a variety of users, both in the U.S. and overseas. In August, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued the OEM an experimental airworthiness certificate for its AML, based on a Gulfstream III business jet.
The Lockheed L-1649A Starliner was the queen of the skies in the late 1950s and it might again become a familiar sight aloft, according to officials at Lufthansa Technik. In cooperation with the company’s Tulsa, Okla. subsidiary, BizJet, restoration on one of the 50-year-old propliners is under way at a specially built hangar at Auburn-Lewiston Airport in Maine.
Another airshow, another photo opportunity with the F-35 partner nations. Lockheed Martin assembled this group of representatives from the nine countries that are part of the program here yesterday. They all received a newly minted coin mounted in a plaque.
Vision Systems International, a joint venture between Elbit Systems and Rockwell Collins, has received a $54.1 million contract to begin production of Gen II helmet-mounted display systems for the F-35 Lightning II. Lockheed Martin awarded VSI the contract to deliver 52 displays and 30 aircraft shipsets. These HMDS components cover the requirements for Lots 1, 2 and 3 of F-35 low-rate initial production.