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UK MoD Set to Order Its First Batch of F-35 Lightning II Combat Aircraft

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon today announced that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has reached agreement in principle on an order for the first production batch of four Lightning II stealth combat aircraft – which will operate from both the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers and RAF land bases.

A formal contract is expected to be placed within weeks for the F-35B aircraft, which form part of the MOD’s investment in Lightning II over the next five years to procure an initial 14 of these multi-role fifth generation aircraft, together with the necessary support arrangements and infrastructure.

Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said:

“Today’s announcement is a major step forward. The Lightning II will equip the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force with a highly advanced multi-role stealth combat aircraft, operating from both our new Queen Elizabeth class carriers and land bases.

“These aircraft will form part of the first UK-based squadron of F-35s, which will take up station at RAF Marham in 2018. This programme is also bringing substantial industrial benefits to the UK, providing thousands of skilled jobs in the UK aerospace industry.”

Bernard Gray, the MOD’s Chief of Defence Materiel, said:

“I am delighted that this agreement prepares the way for the first batch of operational combat aircraft. It ensures the MOD remains on target for achieving both operational capability from land bases and the start of flying trials aboard the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2018.”

Air Commodore Mark Hopkins, Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for Lightning II, said:

“Lightning II will be a genuinely transformational aircraft when it enters service with the RAF and the Royal Navy. With highly advanced sensors, systems and weapons, this fifth generation stealth aircraft will offer a quantum leap in terms of capability and, alongside Typhoon, will offer the UK flexible and adept Air Power for the foreseeable future.

“As the first batch order for aircraft to form part of our first operational squadron, this marks a very significant milestone in this programme.”

It is anticipated that the contract will be finalised in the coming weeks, which will allow deliveries of the aircraft, within the contract, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, to commence from mid-2016.

The aircraft provide an important step on the path to rebuilding the UK’s carrier strike capability. They feature short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) and the latest stealth and intelligence surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) technology.

Background Information

  • The UK has already taken delivery of three F-35B jets to date, which are based at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, US, and an order was placed for a fourth UK aircraft in September 2013 which will be delivered early in 2016. These are for test and evaluation. The UK’s first operational Squadron will transition to RAF Marham in Norfolk in 2018, which will become their Main Operating Base.
  • The agreement is part of a larger contract award which will be let by the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office (JPO), based in Washington DC, with Lockheed Martin, and will procure a total of 43 aircraft for the Programme across six nations.
  • Significant UK sub-contractors to the programme include BAE Systems, Cobham, GE Aviation, Honeywell, Martin Baker, MBDA, Qinetiq, Rolls-Royce, Selex Galileo, Ultra Electronics & EDM Limited.

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South Korea Approves Procurement of Lockheed F-35A Lightning II

The Republic of Korea finalized its formal selection of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraft for its F-X fighter acquisition program, announcing its intent to sign the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) between the U.S. and Korean governments for 40 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing variant jets with initial deliveries beginning in 2018.

“We are honored by and appreciate the trust and confidence the Republic of Korea has placed in the 5th Generation F-35 to meet its demanding security requirements on the Korean Peninsula. We look forward to producing and delivering, on time and within budget, Korea’s F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing variant aircraft,” said Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics executive vice president. “This decision strengthens and extends our long-standing security partnership and truly enhances the regional stability among our greater Asia Pacific allies.”

Following a comprehensive evaluation process for its F-X program, the Republic of Korea, which first announced its competitive selection of the F-35 over the 4th Generation Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle and the EADS Eurofighter Typhoon in March this year, now becomes the third Foreign Military Sales country to procure the F-35, joining Israel and Japan who selected the F-35A in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

The F-35 Lightning II, a 5th generation fighter, combines advanced low observable stealth technology with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, and a variety of fighters for at least 10 other countries. Following the U.S. Marine Corps’ planned July 2015 Initial Operational Capability (IOC), the U.S. Air Force and Navy intend to attain their IOC in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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Rockwell Collins Showcasing F-35 Lightning II HMDS At Farnborough Airshow 2014

In celebration of the F-35 making its international debut, the Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems F-35 Lightning II Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) will be in the spotlight at the Farnborough Airshow 2014.

The F-35 HMDS provides pilots with unprecedented situational awareness. All the information that pilots need to complete their missions – through all weather, day or night – is projected on the helmet’s visor, an industry first. In addition, real-time imagery streamed from six infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft to the helmet, allows pilots to “look through” the airframe.

At Farnborough, Rockwell Collins will also be demonstrating the company’s MultiScan ThreatTrack Weather Radar, EVS-3000 Enhanced Vision System and HeliSure product line for helicopters, all new offerings introduced this past year.

Rockwell Collins MultiScan ThreatTrack features unprecedented capabilities for assessing lightning and hail threats, uses Predictive OverFlight to identify significant turbulence threats above rapidly growing thunderstorms, and is the first radar in the industry to feature two levels of turbulence detection. Rockwell Collins will demonstrate the system at Farnborough, and also plans to announce the newest airline customers to select MultiScan ThreatTrack.

The EVS-3000, set to debut on the Embraer Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 aircraft, is the latest in enhanced vision systems. Its multispectral technology sees through the worst conditions and can even detect LED runway lighting. An example of the new technology will be on display, as well as tutorials that explain the virtues of the system.

Rockwell Collins will also be demonstrating the capabilities of its HeliSure flight situational awareness product suite for rotary wing aircraft. HeliSure delivers sensor data in real time through an intuitive user interface that features 3D visualization for information that pilots can easily, quickly and effectively process. The first two products of the HeliSure family are Helicopter Synthetic Vision System (H-SVS) and Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System (H-TAWS), which have been selected by AgustaWestland for the AW149, AW189, AW101 and AW169 platforms.

Also making a comeback at this year’s Farnborough Airshow is the company’s proven Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system for commercial and military aircraft. The system integrates and displays essential flight information through graphically rich interfaces, including high-integrity head-up guidance featuring synthetic and enhanced vision and the industry’s first touch-screen flight displays.

This year also marks the first time that Rockwell Collins’ new Information Management Services (IMS) business, formed as a result of the 2013 acquisition of ARINC Inc., will be a part of Rockwell Collins’ presence at the Farnborough Air Show. The exhibit will feature video presentations highlighting information management capabilities now available through Rockwell Collins. These include the world’s largest aviation network, serving hundreds of airlines; voice and data communications that seamlessly connect the flight deck, airlines operations and air traffic control; and a broad range of airport operation solutions that integrate and optimize passenger processing, ramp operations, data management, radio solutions, system integration and flight crew applications.

Representatives from the Service Solutions division of Rockwell Collins will also be at this year’s show. Rockwell Collins’ Service Solutions provides life cycle support including asset management and performance based solutions; Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) of Rockwell Collins and non-Rockwell Collins products; in-flight entertainment (IFE) onboard services; service parts, exchange, lease and rental of equipment; and training and professional services.

Rockwell Collins is a pioneer in the development and deployment of innovative communication and aviation electronic solutions for both commercial and government applications. Our expertise in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, simulation and training, and information management is delivered by a global workforce, and a service and support network that crosses more than 150 countries.

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F-35 Lightning II Aircraft Demonstrates Air-To-Air Combat Capability

In the Point Mugu Sea Test Range airspace off the Central California coast, an F-35B demonstrated the jet’s air-to-air combat capability when it sequentially engaged two aerial targets with two AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles during a Weapon Delivery Accuracy mission.

Test pilot and 461st Flight Test Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Andrew Allen, tracked two maneuvering drone targets, making the very first dual AMRAAM shot from any F-35 variant, and the first live AMRAAM shot from the F-35B Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant.

“The U.S. Marine Corps, which operates F-35Bs, will be the first military service branch to attain combat-ready Initial Operational Capability in 2015,” said J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for F-35 Test & Verification. “This Weapon Delivery Accuracy test highlighted the air combat capability that will give Marine aviators a decisive combat edge in contested airspace.”

The F-35′s internally-carried AIM-120 AMRAAMs are a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operations and considered a “fire-and-forget” missile using active target radar guidance.

Also flying out of Edwards AFB, an F-35A flew a 1.9 hour mission with the first-ever load of Block 3i hardware and software. Block 3i is the next level of capability and is planned to support U.S. Air Force F-35A Initial Operating Capability in 2016.

The two flight tests out of Edwards May 27 were part of three F-35 major milestones on the same day.

On the East Coast, the F-35C, designed for aircraft carrier operations, completed a landing at its maximum sink speed to test the aircraft’s landing gear, airframe and arrestment system at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. “Five sorties were conducted, building up the maximum sink rate test condition of 21.4 feet per second, which represents the maximum sink speed planned for this test,” McFarlan said. During the tests, the F-35C did three arrestments, several touch and goes and one bolter. The landings were to demonstrate structural readiness for arrested landings on an aircraft carrier at sea.

Fleet-wide, the F-35 has, to date, amassed more than 17,000 flight hours.

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F-35 Lightning II Helmet Mounted Display System to Make CANSEC Debut

The F-35 Lightning II Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) will make its CANSEC debut this year in the Rockwell Collins exhibit (Booth 1103). The HMDS, manufactured by Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems, provides F-35 pilots with unprecedented situational awareness for piloting the most advanced aircraft in the world. The virtual head up display provides pilots with day and night operation capability and a binocular wide field of view.

Rockwell Collins specializes in leveraging commercial avionics for military applications while also providing its customers with high performance communications in any environment. Journalists and show attendees are invited to the company’s exhibit at CANSEC 2014 to learn more about Rockwell Collins avionics and communications products, solutions and systems integration capabilities, including:

Advanced, proven airborne products, systems and solutions

  • ARC-210 – Airborne programmable software defined radio
  • HeliSure – Enhanced situational awareness for helicopter safety
  • Pro Line Fusion – Applying innovative commercial avionics for military aircraft

High-performance, interoperable, secure networking communications

  • Wideband HF – Communications for secure exchange of high bandwidth data
  • 721S radio – Fixed site communications for command and control
  • FireStorm – Situational awareness for mapping and tracking friend or foe
  • SMART Blade Radio – Flexible, space efficient communications for air traffic control applications
  • Link 16 – Wide range of Link 16 terminals

Simulation, training and life cycle support

  • Link 16 Simulation and RealFires- Solving complex simulation and training challenges
  • FlexForce – Tailorable, performance based service solutions

Rockwell Collins is committed to serving its Canadian customers. With a workforce of more than 140 engineers, program managers and support staff in Ontario and Quebec, Rockwell Collins has a well-established and growing presence in Canada and is actively involved in the local communities. The Montreal facility primarily handles Commercial Systems sales to the Canadian civil aviation community. It is an important element in the company’s strategic alliance with Bombardier Aerospace, through which Rockwell Collins provides customer engineering and operations support.

The facility in Ottawa specializes in the design and development of wireless, ad hoc networking technologies, including battlefield modeling and simulation of tactical networks. The SubNet Relay Technology developed there is in use with customers worldwide, deployed with some of the world’s major navies. Additionally, the Canadian-designed Tactical Application and Communication Test Bed enables customers to simulate operational military scenarios using models of military applications, devices and protocols through a fully distributed discrete event communication simulator.

The facility also serves to coordinate customer service and repairs for Rockwell Collins products sold to Canadian military and commercial customers including Intermediate-level repair and service capability for the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Link 16 terminals installed on Canadian Forces’ CF-18 fighters and ARC-210 radios in use on all RCAF fleets of aircraft.

Rockwell Collins is a pioneer in the development and deployment of innovative communication and aviation electronic solutions for both commercial and government applications. Our expertise in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, simulation and training, and information management is delivered by a global workforce, and a service and support network that crosses more than 150 countries.

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Australia to Order 58 More F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft

The Government has approved the acquisition of an additional 58 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

The fifth generation F-35 is the most advanced fighter in production anywhere in the world and will make a vital contribution to our national security.

Together with the Super Hornet and Growler electronic warfare aircraft, the F-35 aircraft will ensure Australia maintains a regional air combat edge. The F-35 will also provide a major boost to the ADF’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

The first F-35 aircraft will arrive in Australia in 2018 and enter service with the Royal Australian Air Force in 2020.

Australia has been working with the United States as a partner in the Joint Strike Fighter programme since the Coalition joined in 2002. Acquiring F-35 aircraft will reinforce the ADF’s ability to operate seamlessly with US forces and Australia’s capacity to continue supporting our shared strategic interests under the US alliance.

The acquisition of F-35 aircraft will bring significant economic benefits to Australia, including in regional areas and for the local defence industry with more jobs and production for many locally-based skilled and technical manufacturers.

The total capital cost of $12.4 billion for this acquisition includes the cost of associated facilities, weapons and training.

Around $1.6 billion in new facilities and infrastructure will be constructed, including at RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales and RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory.

As a result of the Howard Government’s decision to join during the development phase, Australian defence industry has been awarded over $355 million in work and stands to win well in excess of $1.5 billion in JSF-related production and support work over the life of the programme – creating long-term advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs.

The F-35 will replace the F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet aircraft. For over three decades, the Classic Hornet has been the backbone of Australia’s air combat capability. These aircraft have delivered exceptional service to Australia’s security but will be withdrawn from service by 2022.

The new 58 F-35 aircraft, in addition to the 14 already approved in 2009, will provide the RAAF with a total of 72 aircraft to form three operational squadrons and one training squadron.

The Government will also consider the option of acquiring an additional squadron of F-35 aircraft to replace the Super Hornets in the future.

The Government remains committed to building a strong, capable and sustainable Australian Defence Force.

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South Korea Selects Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II

By on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

The Republic of Korea has formally selected the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft for its F-X fighter acquisition program.

“We are honored by and appreciate the trust and confidence the Republic of Korea has placed in the 5th Generation F-35 to meet its demanding security requirements. We look forward to supporting the discussions between the Republic of Korea and U.S. governments in support of a final agreement this year,” said Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics executive vice president. “This decision strengthens and extends our long-standing security partnership while enhancing regional stability across the greater Asia Pacific theater.”

Following a comprehensive evaluation process for their F-X program, the Republic of Korea becomes the third Foreign Military Sales country to procure the F-35, joining Israel and Japan who selected the F-35A in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

The program also currently includes participation from three U.S. military service branches and eight international partner countries. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighter aircraft for at least 10 other countries.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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