Defense

July 18, 2012

Panetta lauds first international F-35 delivery to United Kingdom

Tags:
by Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta hands a model of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond in a symbolic gesture to mark the first delivery of the aircraft to British forces as they hold a press conference at the Pentagon, July 18, 2012.

After a meeting July 18 with the United Kingdom’s top defense official, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta lauded an important milestone in the U.S.-U.K. defense relationship.

July 19 in Fort Worth, Texas, British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond will take the first international delivery of an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Panetta told reporters at a Pentagon news conference alongside his British counterpart.

“The United Kingdom was the first partner nation to join the F-35 program and has been a tremendous partner throughout the development, testing, and the initial production,” the secretary added.

Hammond, who joined Panetta for a working breakfast, said, “I look forward to seeing [the supersonic stealth fighter] in operation later on today at [Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland] and then picking up our first test aircraft tomorrow … at Fort Worth.”

The aircraft’s multiyear system development and demonstration period involves development and testing of the entire aircraft system, including its manufacture.

Along with the United States and the United Kingdom, other nations partnering in this phase of F-35 development are Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia. As partners, the countries can bid for work and participate in the aircraft’s development.

Israel and Singapore agreed to join the program as security cooperation participants, entitled to delivery priorities, certain program information and country-specific F-35 technical studies.

“The United Kingdom was the first partner nation to join the F-35 program and has been a tremendous partner throughout the development, testing and initial production,” Panetta told reporters.

“I’m pleased by the significant progress that the program has made across all the service variants, particularly in the past year,” he said, adding that despite a long road still ahead, progress is being made in testing and stabilizing future F-35 production and sustainment plans.

“The F-35 represents, I believe, the future of tactical aviation for both of our armed services,” Panetta said. “This advanced aircraft’s air superiority, its precision strike capability will help ensure our dominance of the skies for years to come.”

Hammond said the British armed forces will continue close collaboration with the United States as its most important defense relationship, building on the shared experience of a decade fighting together in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Our wide-ranging intelligence relationship, our joint work on the F-35B, regenerating the U.K.’s carrier strike capability, and of course the work on the nuclear deterrent and the common missile compartment — all [are] crucial keystones of our relationship,” he said.

Hammond added that he has assurances at the highest levels that the F-35 program is now on track and doing very well.

“It went through a period 18 months or so ago when it was placed on probation because of some technical difficulties [but] it’s come out of those,” he said.

The aircraft’s B variant now has clocked more than 1,000 hours of flying time and the U.S. Marine Corps is successfully flying it from ships, Hammond said.

He said the U.S. Defense Department has been “massively supportive of [the project] and is providing us with all sorts of facilities to maintain and regenerate our capabilities to operate a carrier flight deck and to maintain the skills in our pilots, many of whom are now flying with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to keep those skills alive.”

Panetta said he’s made it clear that the F-35 fighter plane is critical to a future defense strategy that depends on agility, flexibility and the ability to stay on the cutting edge of technology.

“We’re committed to all three [F-35] variants because we think each of the forces will be able to use that kind of weaponry for the future so that we can effectively control the skies as we confront the enemies of tomorrow,” Panetta said.

The secretary said he’s confident “that we’re going to be able, working with industry, working with Congress, to meet our full commitment with regards to the joint strike fighter.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 31, 2015

News: Carter: Military leaders could arm more troops at home – Following the recent fatal shooting of four Marines and a sailor in Tennessee, Defense Secretary Ash Carter is ordering the military services to consider new policies that would enhance security for troops at home, including potentially arming more personnel.   Business: DOD weighs supplier base,...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

U.S. delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt The United States Embassy in Cairo says the U.S. is delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of an ongoing military support package. It says in a July 30 statement that the aircraft, of the current Block 52 production variant, will be flown in from...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin successfully tests design changes for Orion spacecraft’s fairing separation system

Lockheed Martin photograph A protective panel for Orion’s service module is jettisoned during testing at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California facility. This test series evaluated design changes to the spacecraft’s fair...
 

 

Australian company to provide parts for initial production of Triton UAS

Northrop Grumman has awarded the first Australian supplier contract for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system initial production lot to Ferra Engineering. Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering will manufacture mechanical sub-assemblies for the first four Triton air vehicles including structural components. “At Northrop Grumman it’s very important to not only develop...
 
 
Boeing photograph

CH-46 ‘Phrog’ makes its last hop

Boeing photograph The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter commonly known as the “Phrog,” is set to retire and to be flown one last time by Reserve Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 774 on Aug. 1. The CH-46 Sea Knight is a med...
 
 

Insitu awarded LRIP Lot IV RQ-21A Blackjack Systems contract

Under the terms of its latest contract, Insitu will build six RQ-21A Blackjack systems for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The $78-million Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Lot IV Low Rate Initial Production contract is the latest event in the program’s progression toward the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase.   “This award will...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>