BY COURTNEY E. HOWARD AND JOHN KELLER
FORT WORTH, Texas—Military aircraft designers at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, will build 30 F-35 Lightning II advanced jet fighter aircraft and advanced avionics for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps under terms of a $4 billion contract modification from the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md.
Meanwhile, officials of the Japan Ministry of Defense in Tokyo are choosing the F-35, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, as the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) next-generation fighter aircraft. Japanese military leaders will start by purchasing four F-35 aircraft this year.
The F-35 Lightning II 5th Generation fighter offers fighter speed and agility, fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, and advanced sustainment. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with principal industrial partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.
The F-35 program includes nine partner nations—the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, and Norway. The United Kingdom and Netherlands have ordered test aircraft, whereas Italy and Australia have committed long-lead funding for initial operational aircraft.
For the latest U.S. military F-35 order, Lockheed Martin will build the 30 aircraft under low-rate initial production lot V for the F-35 program.
The advanced-technology F-35 is the U.S. Department of Defense next-generation strike aircraft for the Navy, Air Force, Marines, and U.S. allies. The aircraft can perform as an air-superiority jet fighter, as well as a ground-attack aircraft, and has stealth technology to cloak the combat jet from enemy radar.
The F-35 comes in a conventional-takeoff-and-landing (CTOL) version for the Air Force, aircraft carrier variant (CT) for the Navy, and a short-take-off-and-vertical-landing (STOVL) version for the Marine Corps. The $4 billion contract awarded last month is for 20 CTOL F-35s for the Air Force, six CT F-35s for the Navy, and three STOVL F-35s for the Marine Corps.
The contract amount comprises $2.6 billion for the Air Force F-35s, $937.4 million for the Navy aircraft, and $426.2 million for the Marine Corps aircraft. The contract modification also provides for ancillary mission equipment and flight test instrumentation for the 30 new F-35s, and flight test instrumentation for the United Kingdom.
The F-35’s sensors and avionics are for situational awareness, command-and-control, and network-centric warfare. The aircraft’s main sensor is its AN/APG-81 AESA-radar, while its Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) provides situational awareness and targeting without emitting signals that hostile forces could detect.
|The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, shown above, is one of the most advanced jet fighters in the world.|
Six passive infrared sensors act as a missile warning system. The F-35 has the AN/ASQ-239 electronic warfare system to detect hostile aircraft, which the electro-optical system then scans to provide the pilot with sufficient information to decide whether to engage or evade the target. The aircraft also has a communications, navigation, and identification (CNI) suite. The F-35 has sensor fusion that combines radio-frequency and infrared tracking for continuous target detection and identification.
Software for the F-35 is written in C++. The Integrity DO-178B real-time operating system (RTOS) from Green Hills Software runs on COTS Freescale PowerPC processors. Lockheed Martin will build the F-35s in Fort Worth, Texas; El Segundo, Calif.; Warton, England; Orlando, Fla.; Nashua, N.H.; and Baltimore, and should be finished by Jan. 2014.
FOR MORE INFORMATION visit Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. online at www.lockheedmartin.com/aeronautics, the DOD F-35 Program Office at www.jsf.mil, Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil, and the Japan Ministry of Defense at www.mod.go.jp.