Week of 3/19/2020

F-35 & COVID-19 Update

Last week, I provided a Coronavirus (COVID-19) and F-35 program update. Amidst the 24/7 news cycle, I think it’s important to continue to share information during this time.

The Fort Worth production line continues to produce F-35s for our customers around the world. This week, I walked our line and spoke with employees about their concerns. I will continue to do so in the coming weeks. If you see something, say something. Your health and safety remain my number one priority and we must act as one team to create a healthy work environment for all employees.

We have intensified cleaning efforts at all of our facilities. If you can work remotely and accomplish all assigned work, discuss this option with your manager – and for all leaders, I urge you to consider telecommuting as an option for your team members. The combination of additional facility cleaning and fewer people in the factory provide a safer environment for those who cannot work remotely. Please know, our leaders continue to work around-the-clock to protect your health and safety.

If you are like me, I consider work and those I work with my second family. I encourage all of us to be exceptionally considerate of our teammates around us. These are trying and unique times. Being socially distant does not mean we cannot look out for each other’s welfare. Offer assistance as appropriate, maybe lend an ear, clean as you go in your work and break areas and if you are not feeling well, self-quarantine.

To all employees, your work safeguards our skies and secures the United States and our allies. Your work enables our men and women in uniform to operate missions and come home safely. We must continue to perform with excellence and help our customers accomplish their missions.

I’ve said it before and I will repeat it, F-35 Nation, without you, the F-35 program does not go. You are the foundation and backbone of the program. Together we hit 500 deliveries and we will hit 500 more. When it is safe to distribute, I am excited to announce every F-35 employee will receive an F-35 500th coin. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves and each other.

Eielson’s First F-35 Flight

Last week, “Alaska One,” Eielson Air Force Base’s first F-35A flew for the first time. This represents an exciting step for Eielson Air Force Base. This May, Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska, will receive its first F-35.

The men and women of the 354th Fighter Wing will soon regularly conduct operations with F-22s and F-35s. The combination of two squadrons of F-22 fighters based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage and the full fleet of F-35As will make Alaska home to more 5th Generation fighters than anywhere else in the world.

The geographical location of Eielson Air Force Base allows the F-35 to conduct sorties in the United States, Europe and many Indo-Pacific commands. It increases the global span of F-35 airpower for our customers around the globe.

I am excited for the F-35 to take to Arctic skies and I look forward to sending you more updates on the Eielson Air Force Base F-35 arrival.

Women’s History Month

In March, we celebrate Women’s History Month. I want to take a moment to recognize all the outstanding women who support the F-35 program.

Without question, the women of the F-35 program bring diverse skills and knowledge to the table, directly contributing to the unmatched capability and precision of the warfighter. They come to the table each day with new ideas and solutions, ready to innovate, adapt and evolve.

This year, I’ve recognized many women for their work to move the F-35 program forward. From the first-ever female USAF F-35A Demo Team Pilot, Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe, to our Lockheed Martin Aeronautics leader, Michele Evans. You help the F-35 program Raise the Bar and perform with excellence every time.

To learn more about some women who move the needle at Lockheed Martin: Click Here.

#ThrowbackThursday: The First F-35B Hover

Ten years ago, this week, the F-35B showed the world its next-generation capabilities. On March 17, 2010, BAE Systems test pilot Graham “GT” Tomlinson, the lead STOVL pilot at the time, demonstrated the ability to hover during a flight test at NAS Patuxent River.

From a conventional takeoff, Tomlinson engaged the jet’s STOVL mode at 200 knots, then slowed to 60 knots as he negotiated a decelerating approach to a zero-airspeed hover at 150 feet above the runway. This moment marked the first free-air hover in the F-35B.

Just a few short hours later, BF-01 executed the first F-35 short takeoff, taking to the sky at 100 knots using less than 1,000 feet of runway. But, the team had one more test. To build off the momentum of the previous day, Tomlinson and the flight test team went for the trifecta: completing the F-35B’s first hover, short takeoff and vertical landing in a 48-hour window.

F-35 Nation, thank you for looking back with me and for all you do, stay safe and I’ll see you next week!