Defense

July 23, 2012

Carter addresses Joint Strike Fighter program

by Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

Many countries that are partnering with the United States in the F-35 joint strike fighter program will have a role to play in the aircraft’s assembly, but the U.S. government will not decide which country does what, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said in Tokyo, Japan, July 21.

During a press conference with Japanese media representatives, Carter explained that the supersonic stealth fighter’s prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Corp., will decide where the fighter’s various manufacturing processes will be located, based on two factors: the partner nation’s desire to participate in the aircraft’s production, and economic efficiency.

Carter arrived in Japan on the first international stop of an Asia-Pacific tour that has already taken him to Hawaii and Guam, and will continue to Thailand, India and South Korea. He discussed the F-35 program while responding to a reporter’s question on whether Japan will be the site of the aircraft’s final assembly and check out.

Lockheed Martin officials have explained that process, known in the industry as FACO (Final Assembly and Checkout), which involves putting together the four major structural components of the airplane, installing the engines and electronics systems, and coding and test-flying the aircraft.

“The F-35 program is obviously very important to us,” Carter said. “It’s the linchpin of tactical aircraft inventories for the United States for decades to come, so we’re completely committed to it.”

The deputy secretary noted that in his previous position as the department’s undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, managing the JSF program was one his central responsibilities.

“I wouldn’t have told you this three years ago, but I can tell you now: I think it’s getting on the path to finishing its development [and] ramping up to full-rate production,” Carter said.

Nations currently partnering with the United States on the aircraft’s development include the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia.

Many of those partners will participate in building the airplane, Carter noted.

“We can’t all do everything; we can’t all build all parts of the JSF,” he said. “Otherwise, that will be economically inefficient, and we’ll be wasting our taxpayers’ money, and that’s not fair.”

What makes sense, the deputy secretary said, is for each country involved in producing the fighter to make some of the parts for all of the other partner nations.

“So it’s a very complicated matter of apportioning, in an economically efficient way, all of these technical tasks,” Carter said. “And that’s what Lockheed Martin … does in discussions with all the partners.”

Defense Department leaders care about the outcome of manufacturing decisions “because we want an affordable airplane, as does the Japanese government,” he said.

Carter added, “I’m sure that that will be done in a way that is satisfactory to Japan, just like it has to be satisfactory to the United States, has to be satisfactory to Turkey, to the U.K. … That’s the way international programs work today.”




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


 
 

 
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...
 
 

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...
 
 

AF Test Pilot School applications due in June

The 2015 Air Force Test Pilot School selection board will convene July 20-24 to consider candidates for July 2016 and January 2017 classes. Applications are due to the Air Force Personnel Center by June 5. The board will select applicants for fighter, multi-engine aircraft, helicopter and remotely piloted aircraft pilot, combat systems officers – to...
 

 
Air Force photograph by A1C Stephen G. Eigel

Last MC-130P Combat Shadows in the Pacific retire

Air Force photograph by A1C Stephen G. Eigel An MC-130P Combat Shadow awaits its final checks on Kadena Air Base, Japan, before departing for the “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 15, 2015. The 17th S...
 
 
F22-hero1

F-22 test squadron recognizes decorated squadron member, Vietnam hero

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara William Freckleton, 412th Range Squadron lead F-22 range control officer, poses before his F-16D incentive flight April 21. Freckleton is the only decorated Vietnam veteran at the 411th Flight...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

AFRL redesigns mock UAV, ‘Surrogate Predator’

Courtesy photograph An enhanced Surrogate Predator 3 is prepared for takeoff. Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors were added to the Cessna 182 so it can mimic a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. Air Force Rese...
 




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>