Week of 3/12/2020

What You Need To Know: F-35 & COVID-19

I know all of you have been tracking the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the news recently. I would like to provide an update on its F-35 program impact.

We continue to coordinate with health officials and ask all employees with potential exposure to COVID-19 to work remotely and self-quarantine. We continue to monitor all domestic and international F-35 operations and we remain in contact with all Lockheed Martin employees who support those locations.

Today, we see little disruption to F-35 production. However, our team continues to work diligently to adjust and plan for any potential impacts. I will continue to provide updates on the potential impacts of F-35 production.

I urge all of you to limit business travel and take preventative measures to avoid exposure to COVID-19. Lockheed Martin remains committed to protecting your health and safety. We stand as one team to support our colleagues as the latest news evolves.

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Auto GCAS + Auto ACAS = Auto ICAS for F-35

I am excited to share a new F-35 development with you. Last month, we formalized the development and flight testing of an integrated automatic air and ground collision protection system (Auto ICAS) for the F-35. Funded through a cooperative agreement between the Air Force Research Lab and UK Defense Science & Technology Lab, the contract awards Lockheed Martin $15.25 million to further develop, test and implement the collision avoidance technology.

The new system builds on the Skunk Works® developed Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS) introduced to the F-35 fleet in 2019 by adding an airborne element (Auto ACAS). Known as Automatic Integrated Collision Avoidance System (Auto ICAS), the combined system continuously compares the aircraft’s trajectory against a terrain profile and future aircraft trajectories to determine if an automatic maneuver is required to avoid an imminent ground or air collision.

Auto ICAS further increases safety of the F-35 pilots and aircraft. It is important; we continue to think of new ways to make the F-35 the most survivable and connected fighter for our customers, while ensuring the brave men and women who fight for our freedoms return home safely.

The F-35 Stands Ready for Iceland

This month, the Norwegian Royal Air Force (RNoAF) 332 Squadron deployed to Iceland to conduct NATO Air Policing operations. Iceland is a full NATO member but does not have the air security assets for their sovereignty and surveillance needs.

To support Iceland, NATO provides periodic air security defense in the region. Last fall, Italian F-35s deployed to Iceland. This month, the Norwegian 332 squadron answered the call to conduct Icelandic air security operations with the F-35.

This F-35 operational deployment represents a significant program maturity milestone for the RNoAF. The RNoAF reached initial operational capability (IOC) in November 2019. Until this deployment, the RNoAF has focused on operations in Norway. The NATO mission represents an important step in the RNoAF plan to achieve full operational capability in 2025.

One hundred fifty pilots, soldiers and civilians will conduct operations from Keflavik Air Base, Iceland. I want to thank the joint team in Norway, at the JPO and everyone at Lockheed Martin for your work to help customers conduct their missions and return home safely.

Water Carrier: F-35B Laser Shock Peening Capability Team

F-35 Nation, without you, the F-35 program does not go. Today, I want to recognize a team that Raises the Bar and helps the program deliver on customer commitments.

Since 2014, teams across the F-35 Program Office, Development, Sustainment, JPO, Supply Chain Management, Engineering and our supplier partner Curtiss-Wright have collaborated to develop and implement the Laser Shock Peening (LSP) capability for F-35B.

LSP provides an essential update to the aircraft. It uses laser-controlled patterns on the F-35B surface to increase the longevity of the aircraft preventing fatigue cracking. On Feb. 25, the team successfully demonstrated the LSP capability for the first time for our customers.

The LSP Restoration Capability provides a critical update to the F-35B. It ensures the aircraft and airframe will perform with excellence for its 8,000 flight hour life span. I want to thank all the individuals for their work to develop the technology and I look forward to its implementation across the fleet.

Great work to the team and F-35 Nation. Thank you for a great week!