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Official: Italian Cut in JSF Order Would Reduce Workshare

Feb. 14, 2013 - 06:26PM   |  
By TOM KINGTON   |   Comments
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ROME — As Italian politicians call for a reduction in Italy’s Joint Strike Fighter purchase, a senior Lockheed Martin official has warned that any cut in the order will mean a corresponding cut to Italy’s workshare on the program.

Speaking during a visit here, Stephen O’Bryan, vice president of JSF program integration and business development, said that Italy’s workshare, including production of wings by Alenia Aermacchi, had already been reduced following Rome’s decision in 2012 to cut the number of aircraft to be purchased from 131 to 90.

“Alenia’s order has come down by the same proportion as [the cut from] 131 to 90,” he said.

An Alenia spokesman said that a 2010 strategic agreement signed between Alenia and Lockheed involved a potential of up to 800 wings as a second source, with contracts signed in batches, and made Alenia the lead firm for Italian logistics work on the fighter.

Currently, 27 Italian companies have signed 87 contracts to work on the JSF, said O’Bryan, totaling $459 million, which was projected to rise to $8.6 billion.

The totals, he said, were based on Italy maintaining its order of 90 aircraft.

“If they remain the same, it is those numbers,” he said. “The industrial plan needs to be proportional and concurrent with the buyer profile,” he added. “If Italy reduces its buy we would do a proportional and concurrent decrease.”

Asked if he predicted further cuts in Italy, O’Bryan said, “The capability speaks for itself — Italy will make its decision.”

Italy is building a final assembly and check out line for its JSFs which it hopes will also serve as a maintenance hub for other nations. With six aircraft now ordered from low-rate initial-production batches 6 and 7, and the first aircraft due off the line in 2015, the line’s workload will initially be slim, although O’Bryan argued that it would allow a “smooth ramp up.”

“If U.S. aircraft need to be sustained in Europe, Cameri will be logical,” he said.

O’Bryan is due to take over international responsibilities on the JSF program for Tom Burbage, general manager of the JSF program, when Burbage retires at the end of March.

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