Lockheed Martin has recently delivered its 123rd F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft of this year to the Italian Air Force, despite Covid-19 challenges.
The Italian Air Force received the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) or F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.
The single-seat, single-engine fifth-generation F-35A was manufactured at Lockheed Martin’s Final Assembly and Checkout (FACO) facility in Cameri, Italy.
Of the total 123 supersonic, stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft manufactured, 74 were supplied by Lockheed Martin to the US military, 31 to international partner nations and 18 to Foreign Military Sales customers this year.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and related supplier delays, the company revised its annual aircraft delivery goal from initial 141 to 117-123 in May 2020.
The strategic move is a part of the firm’s efforts to avoid surging that could potentially lead to increased production-related costs and create delays and disruption.
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Lockheed Martin F-35 programme acting vice-president and general manager Bill Brotherton said: “The F-35 joint enterprise team rapidly responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to deliver the unmatched combat capability the F-35 brings to the Warfighter.
“Achieving this milestone amid a global pandemic is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team and their commitment to our customers’ missions.”
More than 600 Lockheed Martin-built F-35 aircraft are operational from 26 bases and ships across the globe.
The F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft designed to operate as a low-visibility aircraft with air-to-ground attack and air-to-air combat capabilities.
Press Release and Image:
Lockheed Martin Celebrates a Year of F-35 Successes
Despite COVID-19 challenges, F-35 Production delivers 123 aircraft
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) delivered the 123rd F-35 aircraft of the year last week.
Lockheed Martin delivered the 123rd F-35 aircraft of the year last week.
The 123rd aircraft is an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, built at the Cameri, Italy, Final Assembly and Checkout (FACO) facility and delivered to the Italian Air Force. In 2020, 74 F-35s were delivered to the United States military, 31 to international partner nations and 18 to Foreign Military Sales customers.
In response to COVID-19 related supplier delays, in May the initial annual delivery goal was revised from 141 to 117-123 aircraft to strategically avoid surging, which would increase production-related costs and create future delays and disruption.
“The F-35 joint enterprise team rapidly responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to deliver the unmatched combat capability the F-35 brings to the Warfighter,” said Bill Brotherton, acting vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “Achieving this milestone amid a global pandemic is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team and their commitment to our customers’ missions.”
Lockheed Martin took proactive measures to mitigate COVID-19 supplier impacts and position the program for the fastest possible recovery by adjusting employee work schedules, maintaining specialized employee skillsets, and providing accelerated payments to small and vulnerable suppliers. Lockheed Martin provided accelerated payments to more than 400 F-35 suppliers in 45 states and Puerto Rico.
Though COVID-19 will have short-term impacts on production, the F-35 program continues to work diligently and is on track to meet the joint government and industry recovery commitments over the coming years.
Program Maturity and Progress
With more than 600 aircraft operating from 26 bases and ships around the globe, the F-35 plays a critical role in today’s global security environment. More than 1,200 pilots and 10,000 maintainers are trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 350,000 cumulative flight hours. Nine nations have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil, nine services have declared Initial Operational Capability and six services have employed F-35s in combat operations. The United States Air Force deployed the F-35 for 18 consecutive months from April 2019 until October 2020 in the Central Command Area of Responsibility with hundreds of weapons employments in support of U.S. servicemembers and their allies.
The year also included initial fielding of the Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN), the follow-on to the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), with excellent initial results. The system will be fully operational in 2022. Mission capable rates for the aircraft continued to improve in 2020 with rates greater than 70% across the fleet, and even higher for deployed units. The F-35 also proved its value in Joint All-Domain Operations with multiple exercises that highlighted the aircraft’s ability to gather, interpret and share information with various platforms.