Week of 2/13/2020

F-35 Flies In Finland

This week, two F-35As from Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, arrived in Finland to participate in the 2020 HX Challenge - the Finnish Air Forces’ (FINAF) series of flight evaluation trials. These evaluations will help Finland choose its next fighter aircraft to help protect its sovereignty for the next 50 years and beyond.

Lockheed Martin test pilots will fly six missions to demonstrate the F-35’s 5th Generation capabilities. Specifically, the FINAF will assess the F-35’s air-to-air, air-to-ground, defensive counter air and ISR systems performance. Additionally, they will evaluate the aircraft’s ability to operate in extreme cold weather conditions.

I am confident in our ability to show the Finnish Government that the F-35 with its 5th gen capabilities will provide the most advanced sensor suite and battlespace connected fighter for the Finnish Air Force. The FINAF will make a final decision in late 2021. It took a tremendous team effort to put together our proposal for the HX Challenge. I want to thank the team for coming together to highlight the capabilities of the F-35.

F-35 Brings the Heat On Top Gear

Last week, while many of us were watching the F-35 Super Bowl flyover, another F-35 was gearing up for Daytona with a race in Europe, on the BBC hit series, Top Gear.

The F-35 went head-to-head with a McLaren Speedtail. To prepare for the race, the Top Gear team equipped the car with all the bells and whistles. The Speedtail has a modified M840T engine and a hybrid powertrain. With these enhancements, the Speedtail can produce 1,036 horsepower and reach speeds of 250 mph vs. 40,000 lbs of thrust and 1,200 MPH (Mach 1.6) for the F-35B. In case you were looking to buy a Speedtail (for $2.24 million), they aren’t street legal in the U.S.

No air date has been announced yet. I won’t give the outcome away, but it won’t surprise you that I am cheering on the F-35!

Lightning Keepers: MCAS Yuma

Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma has contributed to our nation’s defense for over 90 years. Today, it is home to the first operational U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) F-35 squadron and one of the premier weapons training locations in the United States. At Yuma, Lockheed Martin professionals partner with our customers to keep the F-35 mission ready.

Currently, two F-35 squadrons operate from Yuma, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 and VMFA-211. Lockheed Martin employees are working alongside their military counterparts and industry partners to perform critical work to ensure operational readiness and unmatched aircraft performance. The latest episode of Lightning Keepers features several of our employees at Yuma who are out in the field ensuring that we deliver increased readiness at a lower cost. It is always great to see our sustainment team in action!