Lockheed: "Another 398 F-35s for 30bn". The world fleet is still growing. Another 18 specimens to Italy by 2025

Lockheed Martin in a press release announced that it had kicked off, together with the Joint program office of the F-35 the contract for the production and delivery of additional 398 F-35s for a value of 30 billions of dollars.

The fifth generation aircraft covered by the contract will be destined for the United States to international partners and for sales through government agreements with the Foreign military sales programme.

Lockheed Martin delivered 2022 F-141s in 35 and the world fleet reached 894 aircraft. To reach the target as planned, 148 specimens had to be delivered to date but an accident on 15 December caused a temporary suspension of flight operations, still in force, thus not allowing the necessary flight tests to be carried out for acceptance of 7 aircraft.

The F-35 Joint Program Office has, in fact, stopped some new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters following the incident on December 15 last year, when an aircraft went down on a runway in Texas. The pilot managed to eject in time.

"The F-35 Joint Program Office has issued a Time Compliance Technical Directive (TCTD) to restrict certain aircraft, which have been rated as high risk. In the meantime, the investigation into the incident of 15 December continues. The affected aircraft have been identified and the JPO will work with US military services and international partners to ensure compliance with the TCTD.

Returning to the sumptuous contract, a year of continuous international growth ends, in which the F-35 was chosen by other countries. In 2022 Finland, Germany e Switzerland have signed Letters of Offer and Acceptance.

The new agreement foresees 145 aircraft for lot 15, 127 for lot 16 and up to 126 for the contractual option of lot 17, which includes the first aircraft destined for Belgium, Finland and Poland.

To date, 17 countries are part of the F-35 program. Italy will purchase a total of 90 specimens. To date, our Armed Forces have 21 of them, of which 5 with short take-off and vertical landing. Last August Lockheed Martin announced the delivery of an additional 18 F-35s to Italy by 2025.

Because Italy has chosen the F-35

The program was decided by the previous governments and approved in Parliament after various passages in the Defense Commissions. Basically there is talk of replacing the operational capabilities they express today with 90 F-35s about 250 aircraft divided between one hundred Tornadoes, of which 52 will still be operational until 2025 (the year in which their retirement is expected), 132 Amx, of which 60 will still be in service in 2020, and 18 Harrier IIs of the Navy. In 2009, aware that the ground attack aircraft line would become obsolete, the Defense Commission approved the acquisition program decennial for 131 F-35s (69 F-35As and 62Bs) at a total cost of 12,9 billion euros.

The number was subsequently reduced to 90 (60 F-35A and 30B ) by the Monti government (2012) with a consequent significant reduction in costs.

F-35 as a platform for decision-making superiority also for government and institutions at the political level

The former head of the Miliatte Air Force, General Alberto Rosso, during a hearing to the Defense Commissions of the House and Senate he had provided a truly exhaustive representation of the potential of the fifth generation aircraft:

"The F-35, which is able to automatically process on board the aircraft an impressive amount of information that it collects independently, or that it receives from others - operating a real "fusion" and integration of the available data - and presenting to the pilot and to the ground centers a map of the environment in which one is operating which is clear, detailed, reliable and continuously updated. The collection and exploitation of data, the understanding of the scenario, the timely distribution of information at the right decision-making level are skills that have a significant impact on activities and operations, from tactical level to strategic level. On a tactical level, because they provide technical information to the field operator to manage aircraft and operational action. At the strategic level because they represent an important contribution through which to build a clear overview of the reference context, allowing even the "strategic decision maker" to orientate himself in the complexity. In other words, they enable the so-called "decision-making superiority", or the ability to make the right choice at the right time, often even anticipating events rather than reacting. In this sense, it is a service that goes far beyond the needs of the individual Armed Forces, becoming a tool that benefits not only the Defense, but also the Government and institutions at the political level. It is a precious contribution that the Air Force can make towards the collective strategic approach of the country system".

General Rosso had thus summarized to the parliamentarians: “The capabilities of the aircraft exceed our imagination, the pilots who used it were thrilled ". "For the Italian Air Force, the F-35 represents the future. Involvement in the program is general for the entire country system, especially on the part of Italian SMEs ".

Lockheed: "Another 398 F-35s for 30bn". The world fleet is still growing. Another 18 specimens to Italy by 2025