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U.K. Air Chief Sees ‘No Issues’ With LM Relationship

Oct. 3, 2012 - 11:40AM   |  
By AARON MEHTA   |   Comments
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The head of Britain’s Royal Air Force sees no problem in the relationship between his service and F-35 contractor Lockheed Martin, a contrast to comments made by the man handling the U.S. Joint Strike Fighter program.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton said that the F-35 program has gone “very well.”

“I think people have been able to adapt and to roll pretty well with the decisions we’ve taken, and I see no issues coming out of that whatsoever,” Dalton said. His comments came after an event hosted by the Royal Aeronautical Society on Oct. 2.

On Sept. 17, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Christopher Bogdan called the relationship between the JSF program office and Lockheed “the worst I’ve ever seen,” expressing frustrations with the company’s lengthy contract negotiations over the fifth production lot of the F-35.

Bogdan, deputy program manager for the JSF, has been nominated to head the F-35 program.

The U.K. has changed its mind several times over which variant of the JSF to purchase, most recently in May when British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced that the country would switch from the F-35C carrier variant back to the short-takeoff, vertical-landing F-35B.

Britain’s first F-35 was delivered in July, making the U.K. the first international partner to receive the fighter. Dalton expects another shipment sometime this spring but acknowledged that until final contracts are signed, it is unclear when the jets will actually be delivered.

“The issue is still going to be the development of the overall capability” and how the contractor “will deliver all the things we’re after,” Dalton said.

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