Exelis has been awarded a low rate initial production (LRIP) contract from Lockheed Martin to continue the supply of pneumatic carriage and release systems for the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft.

The contract requires the company to manufacture and deliver the eight LRIP batch of bomb rack units-67 (BRU-67), BRU-68 and LAU-147 missile launchers.

Exelis electronic attack and release systems business vice-president and general manager Pete Martin said: "With each production award, we make progress toward ensuring every F-35 is equipped with the lightweight pneumatic carriage and release technology it needs.

"We are firmly committed to supplying these cutting-edge systems to help the aircrews succeed in their missions."

The carriage and release systems delivered under the contract are expected to continue supporting the fifth-generation aircraft’s ability to safely carry its mission payload.

"Exelis is firmly committed to supplying these cutting-edge F-35s to help aircrews succeed in their missions."

Specifically, the systems take advantage by eliminating cleaning and the logistics tail of the cartridges, hence enhancing life cycle cost and overall system affordability.

Production work under the contract has started, and the first systems are expected to be delivered in April 2016.

Exelis has to date supplied more than 1300 carriage and release systems, spare parts and support for all three variants of the F-35, as well as antenna technology and lightweight composite parts.

The F-35 is manufactured by Lockheed. It is a fifth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft designed to conduct an array of ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defence missions with stealth capability.

The three F-35 variants include a conventional takeoff and landing aircraft for the US and allied air forces, a short takeoff and landing fighter for the US Marine Corps and the UK Royal Navy, as well as a carrier version for the US Navy.

Image: The BRU-67, BRU-68, and LAU-147 systems support the F-35 jet’s ability to safely carry its mission payload. Photo: courtesy of Exelis.