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9 septembre 2011 5 09 /09 /septembre /2011 05:50


Photo: Lockheed Martin


Sep 8, 2011 By Robert Wall aerospace daily and defense report


LONDON — The U.K. defense industry will gain at least 15% of the value of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter production work, even as the country’s own plans for how many of the stealth fighters to buy remain ill defined.


Peter Luff, the U.K. minister for defense equipment, technology and support, says the production work share also augurs well for the country’s industry to secure long-term services revenue. “U.K. companies have already won JSF production contracts worth 15% by value of the work on each aircraft and are therefore well placed to win future maintenance and support work,” he tells Parliament.


The U.K. bet early on the F-35, becoming the sole Tier 1 partner in the systems development phase. It contributed $2 billion into the U.S. development program, and committed to spending £2 billion ($3.2 billion) overall for JSF development—with additional money going to U.K. industry without flowing through U.S. financial channels. So far, Luff says the U.K. has spent €1.825 billion on the JSF.


Nigel Essenhigh, chairman of Northrop Grumman U.K., says the Tier 1 status has been critical for U.K. industry and ensures the U.K. will have greater flexibility in controlling sensitive aspects of the JSF system than other countries.


One of the issues for the U.K. remains how many fighters it will buy. The total procurement objective has not been defined since the government signaled in last year’s Strategic Defense and Security Review that it was backing off plans to buy 133 of the aircraft. Current plans call for only one deployable squadron, plus the necessary training and attrition reserve assets.


Fielding plans also are not fully spelled out yet, with the government saying it does not have an in-service date set and merely is committing to being able to deploy the aircraft on a future aircraft carrier in 2020.

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