SASC approves F-35 purchase bill

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Fresh off a hearing about continued cost increases on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) on June 16 approved a bill that would require the government to buy the next batch of aircraft on a fixed-price contract, requiring the Pentagon’s largest contractor to absorb any additional costs.

“That’s really an overhaul of how we acquire large items such as the Joint Strike Fighter,” Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), committee chairman, told reporters June 17 in unveiling the markup.

Levin added that his panel would have liked to shift the burden of additional costs on to Lockheed for the already negotiated fourth lot of low-rate-initial-production F-35s and may still attempt to do so when the bill is debated on the Senate floor. Lockheed declined to comment on the negotiations that began in late April.

Still, the committee remained supportive of the program, fully funding the president’s budget request to buy the fifth-generation aircraft, while taking steps to increase its oversight.

The JSF represents one small portion of the bill that authorizes $688.9 billion for defense and energy programs in fiscal 2012, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress would still have to appropriate the funds, which is handled through a different bill.

As for the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 alternate engine for the F-35, the committee would prohibit the use of government funds for research, development, test and evaluation. But Levin, who supports a two-engine approach, hinted that GE may still be able to gain access to government facilities to keep working on the engine.

The bill asks the Pentagon to again review the business case for pursuing two engines. The last time the Pentagon conducted that kind of review, Levin says, the review found no savings either way. But the committee wanted to probe the area again, given production delays on the airplane and potential changes with the Pratt & Whitney F135 primary engine, Levin says.

The bill also cuts the budget for F-22 Raptor development by $140 million and cuts $185.5 million for the purchase of USAF Light Attack Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft. The bill trims $127.1 million from the KC-46A tanker program, saying the request “exceeds the amount of funds required.”

Meanwhile, the bill provides no money for Lockheed’s Medium Extended Air Defense System, cutting $406.6 million from the budget request and asking the defense secretary for a report on the program and future funding options for the joint missile defense effort the U.S. is pursuing with Italy and Germany.

And the committee asks the defense secretary to report back to Congress on its plan to correct the December 2010 flight-test failure on the Boeing-led Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

The committee added funding for other missile defense programs, including $50 million to projects the nation is pursuing with Israel. The committee also provided incremental increases to theater-level programs, adding $30 million to buy equipment for the Raytheon Standard Missile-3 Block IB interceptor, a $20 million increase to buy equipment for the Lockheed Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense System and an additional $20 million to “enhance development” of the SM-3 Block IIA missile.

The bill would allow the Air Force to buy a block of two Lockheed-made Advanced Extremely High-Frequency Satellites on a fixed-price contract with incremental funding. The bill also adds language that would allow the Air Force to “enter into cooperative agreements or contracts with commercial space providers to improve the manner in which the space launch ranges are managed, including the ability to share costs.”

The bill followed House defense committees in adding funding to keep the General Dynamics (GD) Abrams tank line warm, despite Army plans to close it temporarily. The Senate panel provides $322 million to upgrade 49 tanks.

And it calls on the Navy to restructure its plans to replace the canceled GD Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and complete an analysis of alternatives on the Amphibious Combat Vehicle before starting a program for the Marine Personnel Carrier.

LM tout its ability to support high-tempo F-22 deployments

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The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is logging a deployment-intensive pace in early 2011 following a busy 2010, and the company continues to provide key support to the fleet as the Raptor projects power globally.

In January and February, the U.S. Air Force had Raptors deployed to Kadena Air Base, Japan, as part of a rotational deployment for a Pacific Air Forces Theater Security Package; to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, for capabilities enhancement testing; and to Nellis AFB, Nev., for Red Flag, an air combat training exercise. F-22s from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, deployed to Japan performed with exceptional readiness, flying 100 percent of a robust sortie schedule in January.

The world’s premier air dominance fighter and the only fully operational 5th generation fighter, the F-22 deployed around the world in 2010, including to Andersen AFB, Guam; Japan; South Korea; and the United Arab Emirates. In a first for the F-22 fleet, Raptors from Holloman AFB, N.M., performed a re-deployment, traveling from Japan to Guam last year. The Holloman Raptors combined with F-22s from Langley AFB to make for 24 total Raptors on Guam at the time.

As the weapon system support integrator, Lockheed Martin supports Raptor deployments through comprehensive and responsive sustainment services as part of a Performance-Based Logistics contract. The company received a $726.6 million contract modification from the Air Force in February for fleet sustainment this year.

When F-22 units deploy, Lockheed Martin field service representatives deploy with them, providing support in areas such as avionics, systems engineering, low observables maintenance, technical information and mission planning. Thanks in part to the contributions of the representatives, Raptor performance in recent global deployments often proved greater than even that of home-station operations.

The Raptor is a high-demand asset in vital strategic theaters, projecting power, bringing deterrence and enhancing security for the United States and allies,” said Jeff Babione, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s F-22 program. “We have been working alongside U.S. Air Force F-22 maintainers to ensure aircraft availability, performance and reliability for pivotal operations around the world.”

Deploying to new areas brings new challenges. Highlighting F-22 performance capabilities in an austere overseas climate, 12 Raptors from the 27th Fighter Squadron based at Langley AFB, Va., flew more than 600 sorties and 1,300 hours while deployed to Andersen AFB from early June to mid October last year.

According to Lt. Col. Pete M. Fesler, squadron commander, Lockheed Martin sustainment representatives proved helpful not only in keeping Raptors flying, but in helping squadron maintainers sharpen their skills.

- Lockheed Martin

AF-4 Development Jet Arrives at Edwards AFB

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Last Jan. 22, a Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter comes in for a landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California after a 3.2-hour ferry flight from Fort Worth, Texas. The jet, known as AF-4, is the fifth F-35A conventional takeoff and landing aircraft to ferry to Edwards for testing. To date, the F-35 program has achieved 578 total test flights.

Lockheed Martin Corporation engages in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services in the United States and internationally.

The company operates in four segments: Electronic Systems, Information Systems & Global Services, Aeronautics, and Space Systems. The Electronic Systems segment offers air and missile defense; tactical missiles; weapon fire control systems; surface ship and submarine combat systems; anti-submarine and undersea warfare systems; land, sea-based, and airborne radars; surveillance and reconnaissance systems; simulation and training systems; and integrated logistics and sustainment services.

The Information Systems & Global Services segment provides federal services; information technology solutions; software and systems engineering support services; logistics, mission operations support, peacekeeping, and nation-building services for the various U.S. defense and civil government agencies.

The Aeronautics segment provides military aircraft, air vehicles, and related technologies. This segment’s products and programs include the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter-multi-role coalition fighter, the F-22 Raptor-air dominance attack and multi-mission stealth fighter, the F-16 Fighting Falcon-multi-role fighter, the C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft, and the C-5M Super Galaxy strategic airlift aircraft. It also supports P-3 maritime patrol aircraft and U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft; produces components for the F-2 fighter; and serves as a co-developer of the T-50 supersonic jet trainer.

LM’s JAGM on Navy’s Super Hornet, a Success

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Lockheed Martin has successfully completed a comprehensive series of tests to demonstrate the flight characteristics of the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F while carrying the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM). The flying qualities test series consisted of six flights from Patuxent River Naval Air Station, MD, between October 5 and November 2 with a total flying time of 11.2 hours.

The aircraft flew at altitudes ranging from 5,000 feet to 35,000 feet and at speeds approaching Mach 1.0. During each flight, the Super Hornet was refueled in the air by a support tanker to enable the aircraft to reach all the required speeds and altitudes at which JAGM had to be tested.

The JAGM test articles were six instrumented measurement vehicles (IMVs) equivalent in weight, size and dimensions to tactical JAGM rounds and outfitted with resistive temperature devices, acoustic sensors and accelerometers to measure the flight environments experienced by the launchers and the missiles.

Three IMVs were loaded onto each of two new Navy fixed-wing triple-rail launchers designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin and Marvin Engineering to carry JAGM on the F/A-18E/F. Fully outfitted, the Super Hornet could be configured to carry 18 JAGMs, as opposed to just four of the Maverick air-to-ground missiles that JAGM will replace.

“The F/A-18E/F presents some of the most challenging environments for JAGM,” said Hady Mourad, JAGM program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

Threshold aviation platforms include the U.S. Army’s AH-64D Apache attack helicopter, the Army’s Extended Range Multi-Purpose (ERMP) Sky Warrior unmanned aerial system, the U.S. Marine Corps’ AH-1Z Super Cobra attack helicopter, the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk armed reconnaissance helicopter and the Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jet fighter.

The tri-service Joint Strike Fighter also is under consideration as an objective platform.
The initial operational capability of JAGM on the AH-64D, AH-1Z and F/A-18E/F is scheduled for 2016, and the IOC for the MH-60R and ERMP is 2017.

- Lockheed Martin -

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‘We can deliver F-35 to South Korea as early as 2016′ – LM official

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Steve O’Bryan, Lockheed Martin ‘s vice president for F-35 business development, said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency that his company can deliver the F-35 to Seoul as early as 2016, dismissing doubts over a delay in the new warplane’s flight-test schedule.

South Korean officials say the cost rise for an individual F-35 aircraft, stemming from the delay, is a potential obstacle for Lockheed in an upcoming tender by Seoul for 60 fighter jets, valued at 9.7 trillion won (US$8.5 billion).

Seoul is expected to invite bidders as early as next year for the third stage of the fighter modernization program to replace aging F-4E and F-5E/F jets that have been involved in several deadly crashes in recent years. The delivery of new aircraft is scheduled to start in 2016.

The delay in the flight-test schedule, however, would force South Korea to buy F-35s after 2018 if it selects Lockheed, South Korean officials said. Lockheed, Boeing Co. and a consortium of European firms led by EADS have expressed interest in the tender.

“While the F-35 program has experienced some cost growth in the development portion of the program, the cost will not be passed on to international customers,” Steve O’Bryan, Lockheed’s vice president for F-35 business development, said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.

South Korea has purchased 60 of Boeing’s F-15 fighter jets under the first two stages of the fighter modernization program, code-named “F-X,” since 2002.

Lockheed’s F-35 Lightening II Joint Strike Fighter, Boeing’s newly-designed F-15 Silent Eagle and the Eurofighter Typhoon made by the European consortium are likely to compete for the third-stage order, according to officials at South Korea’s arms procurement agency.

O’Bryan said Israel recently signed a preliminary deal to buy the first batch of F-35s, marking the first foreign sale of the new warplanes.


Lockheed Martin Planning a Heavy Launch for Orion Space Capsule


Negotiating with United Launch Alliance (ULA) is Lockheed Martin Space Systems regarding buying a Delta 4 Heavy launch for an unmanned test flight of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle in 2013 even though NASA has not committed to funding the demonstration.

According to NASA officials, the agency is still reviewing the cost and scope of the proposed unmanned Orion demonstration in the context of newly enacted legislation that calls for development by 2016 of a space capsule and heavy-lift rocket capable of taking astronauts beyond low Earth orbit.

But John Stevens, Lockheed Martin vice president of business development for the Orion program, said the Denver-based company simply doesn’t have time to wait for NASA to finish its review.

“If we’re going to meet the 2016 flight date specified in the authorization bill, we have to have a test flight in 2013,” he told Space News on Nov. 23, referring to language in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 that U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law Oct. 11. “So we’ve put our money down on this so we can reserve the launch slot for a 2013 test, because that’s what’s required to meet the 2016 date that Congress has set.”

Stevens declined to say how much money Lockheed Martin put down to begin formal negotiations with ULA, the Denver-based launch services provider jointly owned by Lockheed Martin and Chicago-based Boeing Co. He said until NASA approves funding for the demo, “any monies we put down as a deposit are at risk.”

Chris Chavez, a ULA spokesman, refused to comment on the flight test, but said launch deposits are equally split between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which means Lockheed would forfeit half of its deposit monies if it is unable to reach a contractual agreement for the launch.

Lockheed Martin, which beat Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp. and its teammate Boeing in 2006 for a $3.9 billion contract to design and build Orion, expects to complete the unmanned test flight, even though the Orion’s future has been in question since February when Obama proposed canceling the six-person capsule along with the rest of NASA’s moon-bound Constellation program.

The NASA Authorization Act the president finally signed into law in October ended up calling for development of a multipurpose crew vehicle — MPCV for short — ready by 2016 to carry astronauts on deep space missions, not just short jaunts back from the space station.

Although the law does not specify Orion as the MPCV it does direct NASA to leverage Orion hardware and designs when building it.

Despite Lockheed Martin’s unorthodox approach to acquiring a launch vehicle for the 2013 test, Stevens said the move squares with Obama’s new vision for NASA, which seeks to foster a market for commercially built rockets and hardware through a combination of public and private investment.

Stevens said Orion‘s original test regime included early flight tests of an un-crewed capsule to low Earth orbit atop Ares I. With NASA’s plan to discontinue the Ares family of rockets in favor of relying on privately developed transportation services, Orion’s scope and test objectives have changed.

“In the original plan [the test flight] was a predecessor to going to station,” he said. “Now we’re doing a more complete test of the vehicle, in some sense, than we were before.”

Stevens said the 2013 test flight Lockheed is planning would launch Orion into a highly elliptical orbit with a 17,000 kilometer apogee, setting up the capsule to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at speeds it would encounter returning from a deep space mission.

“The notion is that you put it in a highly elliptical orbit so it has a higher re-entry speed than a low Earth orbit,” Stevens said. “As you come back down from the apogee of that orbit, you accelerate the vehicle so that we can achieve actual re-entry speeds that are the same as those from lunar orbits.”

Relative to previous test flights planned under the Constellation program, Stevens said the lunar variant of Orion that would be used to conduct the 2013 test would shed some subsystems for flight atop the Delta 4 heavy, which is capable of delivering about 25 metric tons of payload to low Earth orbit.


Navy’s first stealth fighter arrives at PAX

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The first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, the U.S. Navy’s first stealth fighter, arrived at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2:37 p.m.

The aircraft, piloted by David “Doc” Nelson, departed NAS Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base at 11:31 a.m. (Eastern) and achieved successful air refuels at a maximum load of 19,800 pounds during the flight. At Patuxent River, the F-35C will conduct air-to-air refueling and performance testing.

The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), integrates advanced very low observable stealth into a supersonic, highly agile 5th generation fighter. The capabilities built into the F-35 Lightning II provide the pilot with unprecedented situational awareness and unmatched lethality and survivability.

While each variant (F-35A, F-35B, F-35C) is uniquely designed to operate from different bases, all three variants set new standards in network-enabled mission systems, sensor fusion, supportability and maintainability.

- Lockheed Martin

Lockheed starts post-F-22 transition

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Lockheed Martin has entered the final 12 months of a key transition phase at its massive final assembly plant for the F-22 in Marietta, Georgia.

By November 2011, Lockheed is scheduled to roll the last of 187 F-22s and the first inner-wing shipset of the F-35 out of the historic B-1 building. But contrary to warnings about job losses prior to the F-22′s termination, activity inside the Marietta factory has never been busier. In addition to gaining a major share of the F-35 supply chain, the site is in the process of trebling C-130J production to about 36 a year, while also ramping up outer-wing production.

Over the next 12 months, Lockheed’s goal in Marietta is to complete a seamless transition from F-22 final assembly site to F-35 structural supplier, with the vast majority of the F-22 workforce crossing over to F-35 production.

“On the production side, our focus right now is to finish strong [on F-22],” says Jeff Babione, F-22 deputy programme manager.

Past experience suggests efficiency drops as production lines near their final days of activity. But Lockheed intends to accelerate the pace of F-22 final assembly to smooth the transition schedule.

Lockheed workers are currently assembling the 169th of 187 F-22s that will be delivered to the US Air Force by February or March 2012. The last airframe will actually roll out of the B-1 factory in November 2011, allowing two to three months for check-out flights, fixing glitches and applying coatings and paint.

For the past year, Lockheed has been transferring workers from the F-22 line in Marietta to the F-35 line in Fort Worth for early training. By the time F-35 production ramps up in Marietta, there should be an experienced workforce.

- flightglobal -

F-22 Raptor Performs First Air Demo Over Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex

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Last Oct. 30-31, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor performed its precision aerobatics at the Fort Worth Alliance Air Show, marking the first time the aircraft has demonstrated its aerial capabilities in the skies over the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

F-22 pilot Maj. David ‘Zeke’ Skalicky of the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Demonstration Team from Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va., flew the Raptor during the performance, entertaining an estimated total crowd of 110,000 that attended the air show over the two days.

An F-22 Raptor aircraft

George Shultz, Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Program, said “Zeke and the F-22 Demonstration Team do an incredible job showcasing the Raptor’s unparalleled aerial maneuverability.” He also said “We are thrilled that the people of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and the employees of Lockheed Martin here in Fort Worth were able to witness this amazing airplane.” The F-22’s appearance proved particularly significant for Lockheed Martin employees working in the F-22 program at the company’s Fort Worth site, where the aircraft’s mid-fuselage is built.

Michael Cawood, Fort Worth site lead for the F-22 program, said “Seeing the Raptor fly at Alliance was a very meaningful opportunity for our program team here.” Cawood also said “This was the first time they were able to enjoy the F-22 aerial demonstration in Fort Worth. Our people take pride in helping to build, sustain and enhance the Raptor, and in providing an unmatched capability to the U.S. Air Force.” The F-22 boasts a unique combination of stealth, speed, agility, situational awareness and lethal long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry to make it the world’s best air dominance fighter and to enable it to deter and defeat current and emerging threats.

Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 133,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.


USAF and Lockheed Martin Looking Into Upgrading C-5As

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The US Air Force (USAF) and Lockheed Martin are looking again at the possibility of upgrading older C-5As due to the great demands of the meeting cost and performance targets of the C-5B airlifter’s re-engine program.

Lt. Gen. Tom Owen, commander of Aerospace Systems Command and program executive officer for aircraft procurement and modernization said that “It’s a good idea, but we are in a very fiscally constrained environment.”

“The Defense Department will evaluate the option in future years, if the dollars are available,” said Owen, speaking at the Sept. 30 handover in Marietta, Georgia, of the first production C-5M upgraded under the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP).

Lockheed Martin says it needs long-lead funding in Fiscal 2014 to avoid a gap in the modification line after the last C-5B is upgraded, and to keep prices agreed upon with major suppliers locked in. These include General Electric for the new CF6-80C engines.

Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin vice president for C-5 programs said “As the aircraft proves itself, we are talking to the Air Force about the benefits of a single fleet.” The upgrade extends service life to at least 2040.

The three C-5Ms already in USAF service, the former RERP development aircraft, include a single upgraded C-5A. This is achieving the same performance and reliability as the two modified C-5Bs, according to Lockheed Martin.

Jeffrey Armentrout, business development manager for strategic airlift programs, says that re-engining the C-5 increases thrust by 22%, payload by 27% and range by 20%. Armentrout adds that the mission-capable rate is exceeding the 75% target.

The company has a $6-billion fixed-price production contract to upgrade 49 aircraft, including two C-5Cs, for a total of 52 C-5Ms. The Air Force also operates 59 C-5As, but plans to retire 22 in 2011-12 because of excess strategic airlift capacity.

Congress directed the USAF to study the potential for placing the retired aircraft with the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) or international coalition partners. A report will be submitted soon.

USAF C-5 aircraft

Mark Johnston, director of U.S. government air mobility programs, says that Lockheed has approached CRAF carriers, international air forces and foreign airlines informally and believes there is some interest in the excess C-5As. “We will know more in the next 6-12 months,” said Johnston.

Johnston also said that any CRAF airline that took C-5As “would be the first U.S.-flagged outsize-cargo carrier. That’s a unique capability.”

If operators can be found, Lockheed’s interest is in upgrading the retired aircraft with the $4.5 million Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) glass cockpit or $82 million RERP kit, for which AMP is a prerequisite.

Armentrout stated that modernization of the C-5Bs is planned to ramp up to 11 per year at Marietta, but there is excess capacity to upgrade another two aircraft each year for other potential operators.

A Defense Acquisition Board decision on full-rate production is set for Oct. 7. Martin says the program is meeting the “challenging” cost and schedule targets in the contract, with Lockheed seeing “significant” improvements in labor hours on the second and third production C-5Ms.

Upgrading the C-5B/Cs was justified on estimated net cost savings of $9 billion over the life of the program. Owen said, “We have confidence in the numbers used to show the aircraft’s increased capability and enhanced reliability provide a sound fiscal basis for the program,” adding that when it comes to the C-5As, “we will apply a similar method to see if investing more dollars in modernization is the right thing.”

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