09/09/2013 Defence IQ Press
Britain and Norway are investigating possible collaboration in the support and training for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The two sides said they are looking at cooperation opportunities in maintenance, sustainment and training of crew and technicians.
The collaboration announcement followed a Sept. 5 meeting in London between British defense procurement minister Philip Dunne and his Norwegian counterpart, Eirik-Owre Thorshaug. A spokesman for the Norwegian Ministry of Defence said exploratory discussions between officials were continuing today in London.
The talks come against a background of wider European efforts to collaborate on F-35 support, but the spokesman said that with similar delivery timelines and their geographical proximity it was natural the British and Norwegians would consider bilateral opportunities.
“This will be the first time in nearly 60 years that Norway and the UK will operate a similar type of fighter aircraft [the last time was the Vampire] and this naturally opens up new possibilities for co-operation,” said Thorshaug.
“The pooling and sharing of resources and maintenance capabilities is already at the heart of the support strategy for operating the F-35 [in Europe], and the UK and Norwegian MoD are looking to see where further national synergies may exist. In this context, both governments are encouraging UK and Norwegian industry to explore collaborative opportunities for cooperation in support and sustainment of our common F-35 fleet,” the two sides said in a statement. [Defense News]
Production delays on Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-35 fighter aircraft have contributed to major cost increases and schedule delays for the $43 billion Navy program to build three aircraft carriers, and could eventually lead to pricey retrofits to the initial ship after it's delivered.
Newport News Shipbuilding is manufacturing three Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers, which will replace the current Nimitz-class carriers. The lead ship, CVN 78, is under construction and preparation work is under way for the second, CVN 79.
Among its features is the ability to launch about 90 aircraft, including the F-35, but aircraft development and testing delays have affected integration activities on the lead ship, according to a Thursday report from the Government Accountability Office.
For example, the Navy has been unable to complete planned testing of the F-35 with the ship's electromagnetic aircraft launch system, the advanced arresting gear system used when landing and the ship’s storage capabilities for the F- 35’s tires, wheels and lithium-ion batteries that provide startup and backup power.
F-35 initial capability was scheduled to occur prior to the shipbuilder’s delivery of the first ship to the Navy in 2016. But because of the F-35 delays, the Navy will not field the aircraft until at least 2017 — one year after the carrier delivery. As a result, the Navy has deferred F-35 integration activities, "which introduces risk of system incompatibilities and costly retrofits to the ship after it is delivered to the Navy," the GAO reported. [Washington Business Journal]
Northrop Grumman Corp. named Brian E. Chappel to lead the company’s F-35 Lightning II program, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter.
Northrop’s Aerospace Systems sector, based in Redondo Beach, is principal partner on the F-35 to prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp.
Chappel will direct and oversee cost, schedule, technical matters, quality and customer satisfaction for production of the aircraft’s center fuselage, Northrop said in a statement. Northrop produces the center fuselage in Palmdale and performs engineering work in El Segundo.
Chappel most recently served as vice president of Business Management and chief financial officer for the company’s Advanced Development Programs business unit.
Chappel joined Northrop in 1993 after serving in the U.S. Air Force. His experience in Northrop includes business development, proposals, contracts, pricing and program business operations. [Daily Breeze]
The Pentagon's chief arms buyer on Wednesday said he did not expect the U.S. Navy to significantly change its plans to buy F-35 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), despite mounting pressure on the U.S. military budget.
Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit that the $392 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was the U.S. military's highest priority conventional warfare program.
He said the Navy needed the added capabilities that the F-35 offered, noting that other countries were developing their own radar-evading fighter planes, advanced electronic warfare capabilities and other advanced weapons that threatened the U.S. military's ability to "control the air."
"I don't see any indication that the Navy is going to change its plans in any fundamental way," Kendall told the summit.
The Navy and other branches of the military have been mapping out their options if lawmakers fail to reverse mandatory budget cuts and they are forced to implement an additional 10 percent budget cut in fiscal 2015.
One possibility under discussion has been a two-year pause in orders for the F-35C carrier variant, a move that could increase the cost of the remaining aircraft to be bought by the Marine Corps and the Air Force, according to four sources familiar with the issue. [Reuters]
A worst-case scenario of cost risks in a Department of National Defence report on a possible acquisition of 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets estimates the airplanes could cost Canada up to $71-billion through acquisition, sustainment and operations over 36 years.
The costs, $25-billion more than the current National Defence estimate, are contained in a section of the department’s latest report to Parliament on the F-35 that outlines “cost risk and uncertainty” and is intended to provide a range of effects on the cost of buying and operating a fleet of stealth attack planes if factors such as inflation, the exchange rate between the Canadian and U.S. dollar, the cost of fuel and the rate of aircraft to be produced by Lockheed Martin fluctuates either higher or lower than the estimates that are behind the current National Defence figures. [Ottowa Citizen]