Week of 1/9/2020

134 Deliveries: F-35 Nation Exceeds Expectations

After the holiday break, I am excited to write to F-35 Nation with great news. The enterprise finished 2019 on a high note. We delivered 134 aircraft to our customers.

This exceeded our 2019 delivery commitment of 131 aircraft. In 2019, we increased our production by 47 percent. This is no small feat and I commend the enterprise for your work to hit 134.

F-35 Nation delivered across all lines of effort to achieve this milestone. I have written before about the unique obstacles we faced in 2019. Your ability to overcome these challenges and exceed expectations shows the readiness of the F-35 enterprise for full-rate production and our ability to sustain the fleet.

In 2020, F-35 Nation stands ready to deliver 141 F-35s. Over the next few months, I encourage you to work with your teams to refine our processes to ensure we deliver on our commitments.

To watch a video on this milestone: Click Here

Bringing the Lightning: F-35 Elephant Walk 

On Monday, the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base executed the mother of all elephant walks as 52 F-35s launched as part of an air combat exercise. This exercise pushes the boundaries and tests the ability of the wings to rapidly deploy.

This elephant walk coincides with a major readiness milestone at Hill Air Force Base. Today, the base operates at full strength after its transition from the F-16 to the F-35A.

In November 2018, Hill Air Force Base did a similar exercise with 35 F-35s. 52 is a different ball game. This number shows F-35 mission readiness and the great strides we have made in sustainment. After the elephant walk, the base launched 50 F-35s in rapid succession. This combat power exercise aims to push boundaries and test the ability to rapidly deploy the F-35.

Great work to the team and I look forward to more airpower displays in the future!

Sustainment Seals the Deal 

The F-35 Joint Program Office awarded the Lockheed Martin industry team a $1.9 billion contract to support operations and sustainment of the global F-35 fleet.

This annual contract funds critical sustainment activities for aircraft and builds enterprise capacity to support the future fleet of 3,000+ F-35 aircraft. This includes pilot and maintainer training, depots maintenance and our global supply chain

The F-35 continues to deliver exceptional capabilities to the field and this contract ensures F-35s are mission ready to meet warfighter needs. The joint government and industry team continues to make significant progress in improving readiness rates and reducing sustainment costs.

We will continue to optimize and advance the sustainment system. We are confident F-35 sustainment costs will be equal to or less than legacy jets as the flight line remains the center of gravity.

Throwback Thursday: The First F-16 Fighting Falcon 

In January 1978, the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing accepted the first F-16 Fighting Falcon. The F-16 order originated to provide a cost-effective air-to-air fighter.

The U.S. Air Force was the first service to accept and use a Fighting Falcon. In 1995, Lockheed Martin acquired the F-16 aircraft manufacturing business from General Dynamics.

The men and women of the 388th Fighter Wing continue to make history safeguarding our skies and I am proud that F-35 Nation and Lockheed Martin support their mission.

Today, the F-16 fleet is 4,500 fighters strong and the F-16 has conducted over 400,000+ combat sorties. Last November, our Greenville site officially began producing the Fighting Falcon. This coincides with the growing demand for new F-16s around the world. The history of the F-16 helps pave the way for the future of the F-35.

F-35 Nation, have a great week!