F-35 Program Partners Affirm Continued Support

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December 13, 2006: Anticipating the first flight of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, members of the multinational program have reinstated their support of the program by committing to the next phases of development. Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia have committed to the project’s Production, Sustainment and Follow-on Development (PSFD) phase, allocating additional funding for the program.

Turkey and Norway followed other program members in January 2007. Turkey signed on for the next phase of the Joint Strike Fighter in pledging $175 million toward the aircraft’s production. Turkey plans to spend over US$ 10 billion on up to 100 F-35s to be procured over 20 years.

Italy, Denmark have yet to formally join the next phase.

The Canadians plan to buy 80 F-35 conventional-take-off-and-landing aircraft to replace their CF-18 aircraft. Canada already spent U.S. $150 million and committed to further $150 in the recent signature.

The U.K. invested U.S.$ 2 billion in the program; the funding increase required by the new commitment is £34 Million ($66.8 million). According to U.K. Defence Minister Lord Drayson, the UK continued support for the program was depended on U.S. assurances that the UK will gain operational sovereignty over its F-35 aircraft. "I have today received the necessary assurances from the US on technology transfer to allow me to sign the MoU 3." Said Lord Drayson. 'Operational sovereignty' will enable the UK to maintain control over essential aspects of the aircraft including certification, integration and support through the service lifetime of the platform. Britain is expected to buy 150 short take-off and landing variants to replace its Harriers. The aircraft will be used on the future aircraft carriers to be operated by the Royal Navy.

he Netherlands and Australia have also signed the PSFD MoU. The four remaining Partners (Italy, Turkey, Denmark and Norway) in the Systems Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase are expected to sign the MoU in the next few months. Other international partners interested in the program include Singapore and Israel.

The JSF/F-35 will be the single largest fighter aircraft program of the first half of the twenty-first century; current plans call for building more than 2,400 F-35 aircraft by 2027 with a total estimated program value in excess of US$276 billion.


Photo: Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF Seen on one of the recent taxi tests, preparing for its first flight (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

 


 

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