Join Production And Support Phase For F-35
Some good news for Lockheed Martin's Joint Strike Fighter
program. Three countries have joined the production and support
phase of the stealthy F-35 Lightning II.
Earlier this week, Canada became the second foreign country,
after the Netherlands, to sign an agreement extending its
cooperation in the fighter program beyond the current development
and demonstration phase. Canada contributed $150 million to
developing the advanced fighter, intended to replace a wide array
of existing fighter aircraft.
"This is a very special event, because it is a very special
partnership," US Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England said
Monday. "The United States and Canada share the strongest possible
bonds of friendship, family and fundamental values, as well as a
On Tuesday, Britain and Australia also "re-enlisted" with the
JSF program. Lockheed says other countries that took part in the
first phase -- including Italy, Turkey, Denmark and Norway -- are
expected to join the production stage soon.
"The Joint Strike Fighter program represents a revolutionary
approach to both aircraft development and international armaments
cooperation," said Canadian Deputy Defense Minister Ward Elcock.
"It brings together expertise from many different countries and is,
as a result, the single largest fighter aircraft program in the
The United Kingdom has been involved with the Joint Strike
Fighter program since its inception 10 years ago and is in to the
program to the tune of $2 billion. The British plan for a total buy
of up to 150 short-take-off-and-vertical-landing versions of the
aircraft for use on two future aircraft carriers.
The Canadians plan to buy 80 F-35
conventional-take-off-and-landing aircraft to replace its CF-18
The program, led by Lockheed-Martin, will build three variants
of the fighter: a conventional model, a carrier model, and a
vertical-take-off-and-landing model. The Air Force, Navy and Marine
Corps will use the three aircraft variants. The F-35 will replace
the Air Force's F-16 Falcon, the Navy's and Marine Corps' F/A-18
Hornet, and the Marines' AV-8B Harrier.
The first production-spec F-35 is slated to begin test flights
before the end of this week.