09/16/2013 Defence IQ Press
Canada's aerospace industry could lose about $10.5 billion worth of contracts over several decades if the federal government ultimately decides not to purchase the controversial F-35 Stealth Fighter, says a senior executive at Lockheed Martin.
Orlando Carvalho, executive vice-president of the U.S. defence giant, says Lockheed will honour $500 million worth of business already awarded to Canadian partners but that other work would be in jeopardy without a Canadian jet order.
"If in fact the Canadian government were to decide not to select the F-35 we will certainly honour the contracts that we have here with the Canadian industry but our approach in the future would be to try to do business with the industries that are in the countries that are buying the airplane," he said in an interview after officially opening its new engine overhaul facility in Montreal.
Carvalho said Lockheed estimates that Canadian industry could potentially receive $11 billion of contracts over 25 to 40 years as its builds 3,000 planes for air forces around the world.
About 72 Canadian companies have secured work on the F-35 project. Industry Canada has estimated that the potential value could be US$9.8 billion, including the amount of contracts already awarded.
Gilles Labbe, the former head of aerospace cluster Aero Montreal and CEO of F-35 supplier Heroux-Devtek (TSX:HRX), last year warned that thousands of jobs would be at risk if lead manufacturers Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman remove work destined to be completed in Canada by members of the global supply chain. [Huffington Post Canada]
Thirteen British companies and the U.K. Minister of Defence Equipment, Support and Technology participated in a Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] Industry Recognition Event during the DSEI tradeshow today. Over the next 40 years, British industry will continue to play a vital role in the F-35’s global production, follow-on development and sustainment, bringing strong economic benefits to the kingdom.
“The F-35 is the largest defence programme in the world,” said U.K. Minister of Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne. “The U.K.’s involvement will generate billions of pounds and tens of thousands of jobs for the British economy for decades to come, with over 500 suppliers across the U.K. already contributing to the production of the F-35. Backed by this government's strategic vision for U.K. aerospace, the F-35 programme allows us to continue to build on the strengths of our nations avionics, systems and sensors industry.”
Steve O’Bryan, vice president, F-35 Business Development, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics added, “Our suppliers here in the U.K. are essential to the success of this program. Together, they will produce 15 percent of each one of the more than 3,100 F-35s planned for the global fleet. We are leveraging their proud legacy of innovation in aerospace to deliver this unprecedented capability to the warfighter.”
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth 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-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-B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least ten other countries. [Your Industry News]
Northrop Grumman has begun company-funded development of a Directed Infrared Countermeasures (Dircm) system for fast jets, anticipating a requirement to protect the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from heat-seeking air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.
“We believe the requirement is there, and coming quickly, and that the first opportunity will be on the F-35,” says Jeff Palombo, senior vice president and general manager of Northrop’s land and self-protection systems division.
Northrop plans to begin testing a prototype of the Threat Nullification Defensive Resource (ThNDR) system in its system-integration laboratory by year’s end, he revealed at a briefing in Washington Sept. 12.
The timing for development of a laser missile jammer to equip the F-35 “is still in question,” Palombo says, “but we want to get out in front of the requirement.”
Northrop has supplied more than 3.000 Dircms to protect large aircraft and helicopters against heat-seeking missiles by directing a modulated laser beam into the seeker head to confuse its guidance.
A Dircm is not part of the requirements for the initial, Block 3-standard F-35 now in development. But draft requirements already exist and Northrop says a laser jammer is now expected to be part of the scheduled Block 5 update.
The system must meet low-observability (LO) requirements and be packaged to fit in a restricted space available inside the F-35. But it will have a smaller, more-powerful laser than current Dircm systems and require liquid cooling, Palombo says.
The ThNDR, which includes the laser, beam steering and LO window, is packaged to fit inside volume available alongside sensors for the F-35’s distributed aperture system (DAS). There would be two jam heads, one on top and one underneath the aircraft to provide spherical coverage with minimal change to the outer mold line.
The DAS, which has six infrared sensors located to provide a 360-deg. view around the aircraft, would provide missile warning, detecting and declaring incoming threats and cueing the pointer/tracker, or jam head. [Aviation Week]
The Pentagon’s top officer overseeing the F-35 program put Lockheed Martin, the lead contractor, on notice last year with some unexpected straight talk about his views of the program saying the relationship between Lockheed and the Pentagon’s Joint Program Office is the “worst I’ve ever seen.”
A year later, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan is set to return to the Air Force Association’s annual conference, but the same fireworks are not expected as the F-35 Joint Program Office and Congress has seen progress in the F-35 program.
Air Force leaders have said publicly they are confident the A-model of the F-35 – the Air Force’s version — will achieve initial operational capability by 2016.
Initial operational capability, or IOC, is the target date each service sets for fielding an initial combat capable force. The IOC dates for the different F-35s have changed several times, starting with 2010–2012, according to a March 2013 report on the program by the Government Accountability Office.
Currently, there are 78 F-35s flying today amongst the services to include the Marine Corps, according to Lockheed Martin. The contractor expects to have 90 by the end of the 2013 and by the end of 2016 the military will have 200 F-35s in the air, and more than 50 percent of them by the Air Force, said Mike Rein, a Lockheed Martin spokesman.
The Defense Department next year plans to spend $8.4 billion to buy 29 F-35s, including 19 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps, and four for the Navy. The funding includes $6.4 billion in procurement, $1.9 billion in research and development, and $187 million in spare parts.
The missed deadlines and cost overruns of the F-35 Lightning II, the most expensive weapons system in U.S. military history, have been well documented. But there are some critics who have begun to offer praise to the program. [Air Force Times]