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F-35 Lightning II - meeting performance requirements, on schedule for deliveries

With strong international partnerships firmly established, the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-35 Lightning II (also known as the Joint Strike Fighter) continues to meet or exceed its milestones in both performance and schedule. The program is moving quickly into its production and support phase, and will be ready when Australia needs it as its future fighter.

At the Australian International Airshow, Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president for F-35 Program Integration, said flight testing is on track and the aircraft is performing extremely well. "The aircraft and its systems are proving to be significantly more mature at this stage of testing than those of past programs," Burbage said. "The program is achieving established milestones and retiring technical risk according to plan. Production activities are accelerating with all SDD aircraft and the first six LRIP aircraft already in assembly," he said.

Burbage added that the F-35 is by far the most capable fighter available on the international market. It is designed for superiority in both the air-to-air and air-to-ground roles. Its combination of stealth and advanced sensor systems will provide vastly improved situational awareness and survivability over the most advanced 4th generation aircraft.

Also at the air show, Maj. Gen. (Select) David Heinz, F-35 Deputy Program Executive Officer, spoke about the U.S. government's backing of the program. "We have the military services' commitment to procure the aircraft in large quantities, and that is important to keeping the cost down and the program affordable," he said. "The United States Government is committed to keeping this 5th Generation fighter on cost and on schedule."

Air Vice Marshall John Harvey, Australia's program manager of New Air Combat Capability, added, "The F-35 continues to make good progress and Defence and Australian industry are working closely with their international partners to make the F-35 Program a great success."

Milestones achieved in 2008 and 2009 continue to validate the F-35's continued success: The successful first flight of F-35 BF-1 on June 11, 2008; the deployment of F-35 AA-1 to Edwards AFB, Calif., with all tests accomplished ahead of schedule; and recently, the successful first flight of F-35 BF-2 on February 25, 2009. The program remains onschedule to deliver the first production-modelF-35s to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.,in 2010 and to meet all services' Initial Operational Capability dates, starting in 2012.

The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation stealth fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.

Press release issued by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company on March 10, 2009


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