Lockheed Martin’s Time to Shine

Lockheed Martin is 20 percent ahead of it’s flight plan for all three variants of the F-35 strike fighter and 33 percent ahead of planned test points, Bob Stevens, company chairman and CEO, told reporters Tuesday. “There will not be another rebaseline of this program. There will not be. We understand that,” said Stevens during a briefing at the company’s offices in Arlington, Va. He said the company is committed to working with the Defense Department to get the F-35 program back on track. “There are early signs that the program is stabilizing,” he noted. Last week, Senate Armed Services Committee leadership expressed concern over the F-35 program’s estimated $1 trillion price tag (in inflation-adjusted dollars). That estimate is based on 2,443 airplanes flown over the course of 52 years with more than 50 basing locations, said Steve O’Bryan, Lockheed vice president for F-35 business development. O’Bryan said the company does not believe that the cost figure is realistic and is dedicated to proving the aircraft’s reliability—better reliability would mean less lifecycle costs. “Let’s see how we perform. I will feel more confident [citing a figure] once we have more than 10 percent of all testing behind us,” said O’Bryan.