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 April 24, 2015

News: More than $1 billion in U.S. emergency reconstruction aid goes missing in Afghanistan - A total of $1.3 billion that the Pentagon shipped to its force commanders in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2014 for the most critical reconstruction projects can’t be accounted for by the Defense Department, 60 percent of all such spending under an...
 
 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

German defense minister: widely used rifle has no future A widely used assault rifle has “no future” with the German military in its current form, Germany’s defense minister said April 22, escalating a dispute over the weapon’s alleged shortcomings. Ursula von der Leyen said last month that a study showed the G36 rifle has a...
 
 
Army photograph

Composites key to tougher, lighter armaments

Army photograph XM-360 test firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in 2007, is shown. The Army is on the cusp of revolutionizing materials that go into armament construction, making for stronger, lighter and more durable weapo...
 

 

Northrop Grumman signs long-term agreement with Raytheon

Northrop Grumman has entered a long-term agreement with Raytheon to supply its LN-200 Inertial Measurement Unit for Raytheon optical targeting systems. The long-term agreement with Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business extends through 2018. The LN-200 provides camera stabilization on optical targeting systems that conduct long-range surveillance and target acquisition for various...
 
 

NTTR supports first F-35B integration into USMC’s weapons school exercise

The Nevada Test and Training Range was part of history April 21, when four U.S. Marine Corps-assigned F-35B Lightning IIs participated in its first Marine Corps’ Final Exercise of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course on the NTTR’s ranges. The Final Exercise, or FINEX, is the capstone event to the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Aviation...
 
 
AAR-Textron

AAR awarded new contract from Bell Helicopter Textron to support T64 engines

AAR announced April 22 that Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. awarded its Defense Systems & Logistics business unit a contract providing warehouse and logistics services in support of upgrading T64 engines for the Bell V-280 Val...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>