Week of 5/21/2020

COVID-19 F-35 Impacts and Schedule Changes

Over the last few months, I have shared with you the impacts COVID-19 has had on the F-35 program. With your health and safety at the forefront, the F-35 program continues to monitor and respond to these new challenges.

Today, we see a rise in COVID-19 related supplier delays. Due to this, the F-35 leadership team, in coordination with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), agreed to implement a temporary adjusted work schedule for F-35 Production Employees in Fort Worth. The alternative work schedule will adjust staffing to align with workflow and better support COVID-19 social distancing efforts.

The adjusted schedule requires F-35 production employees in the Production and Maintenance bargaining units to work on a three-week rotation in which they will have two weeks on and one week off. During this adjusted work schedule, employees who work 96 hours or more will be compensated an additional 24 hours for their off week. The new schedule will be implemented for one, three-week rotation. Before the end of the third week, we will assess the business situation and consider the option to continue this adjusted schedule, potentially until Sept. 4.

This decision promotes employee health and safety and responds to the current F-35 supplier delays. I fully expect our suppliers to recover and return to normal F-35 production operations. The strength of the F-35 program stems from our partners, and our broad industrial base continues to help lessen supplier impacts. I will continue to provide updates on F-35 supplier and production impacts over the next few months.

Fortunately, to date, COVID-19 supplier impacts have not impacted F-35 Sustainment elements: spares, repairs and kit material. With the Flight Line as the Center of Gravity for our warfighter it is important to note that our Sustainment team continues to support 24/7 operations around the globe.

I want to emphasize the F-35 program remains strong and well-positioned to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Your steadfast work continues to move the program forward during these uncertain times. We cannot build the F-35 without you. I thank you for your efforts and we will get through these challenging times together.

F-35A Incident During Training Operation

On Tuesday, an F-35A based at Eglin Air Force Base crashed during a night training mission. Thankfully, the pilot ejected safely and was transported to the Eglin AFB hospital for evaluation and observation, and has since been released from the hospital. There are no reports of any injuries on the ground.

The USAF will work with local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident. The F-35 enterprise stands ready to support the USAF. The safety of the warfighter always remains our top priority. I will continue to share additional details and information as necessary.

To date, the F-35 has flown more than 280,000 flight hours, with only three accidents. This safety record highlights the professionalism of the entire enterprise and robust measures in place to protect the warfighter.

Events like this and the F-22 crash last week are unfortunate reminders of the inherent dangers our aviators face every day. Your work enables our men and women in uniform to safeguard our skies. As the news continues to unfold, I urge you to remember our mission and the great purpose we serve.

Celebrating Memorial Day

At Lockheed Martin, we proudly serve our armed forces. In the United States, we will celebrate Memorial Day this weekend. On Memorial Day, we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Today, this weekend and in the years to come, I encourage you to stop for a moment to pay tribute to these men and women and their families. We must never forget the price they paid for our nation and our freedom.

Today, over 24,000 veterans work at Lockheed Martin. I want to thank each of you for your service. It is an honor and a privilege to work for you as we work to develop, produce and sustain the most advanced fighter in the world in order to provide for our national defense. It is important that we pause and remember those that gave their life in extraordinary service, commitment and courage.

F-35 Nation, thank you for your efforts and take care of yourselves and each other.