July 10, 2013 Source: Reuters
WASHINGTON --- Lockheed Martin Corp and the Italian military this week scrapped plans for a public ceremony marking the opening of an assembly plant for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter after bitter debate about the warplanes in Italy's parliament.
Orlando Carvalho, head of Lockheed's aeronautics business, and Air Force Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan, who runs the F-35 program for the Pentagon, had planned to attend the ceremony, which was scheduled for July 18, along with Italian officials.
Lockheed spokesman Joe LaMarca said the ceremony was cancelled at the request of the Italian defense ministry, but workers were continuing to assemble the first F-35 at the plant near Milan.
"At the request of the Italian Ministry of Defense, the July 18 public ceremony recognizing the start of F-35 assembly operations at the Final Assembly and Checkout (FACO) facility in Cameri has been cancelled," LaMarca said. He gave no explanation. (end of excerpt)
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