Thursday, May 2, 2013

UK and Australia commit to F-35 buys

Some news among the partner nations involved in the F-35 program.  There's been a lot of speculation concerning plans for the F-35 in both the UK and Australia, some saying those countries might back out of buying F-35s for their air forces.  Two reports appear to put that speculation to rest:
Australia's government is expected to affirm plans to buy up to 100 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, according to a defense blueprint to be released on Friday, easing concerns hanging over the future of the controversial stealth fighter.
And why have the Australians decided to commit to the program in such a way?
Australia decided to stick with the F-35, heartened by recent progress on the plane and its high-tech helmet that fuses all the sensor data from the plane, said three sources familiar with the plan.
Jane's is reporting a similar thing concerning the UK today:
The UK is expected to obtain authority to procure its first squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)/Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) before the end of 2013, IHS Jane's was told on 18 April.

Speaking at BAE Systems' Warton production facility in Lancashire, Craig Smith, the head of F-35 Sustainment Programme Development UK/EU, said that military officials with industry support are working on the Main Gate 4 approval process for the procurement of an additional 14 F-35Bs to stand up the UK's first squadron in 2016.
So full speed ahead.  


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