F-35 | Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman sign Letter of Intent with Rheinmetall
Defence Redefined
Published on 18/02/2023 at 20:20

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have signed a Letter of Intent with Rheinmetall AG as a strategic source of supply for F-35 assemblies. 

This potential partnership would establish a second F-35 center fuselage Integrated Assembly Line (IAL) in Germany, expanding the significant role European industry plays in the F-35 program despite the fact that Germany participates as one of the three main partners in the FCAS (Future Combat Air System / Système de combat aérien du future) program through Airbus, together with Dassault Aviation and Indra Sistemas.

According to the announcement, the F-35 center fuselage production in Germany will be vital to meet the growing global demand for F-35s. Thus, the F-35 program continues to build on these partnerships by utilizing companies with the right technical capabilities. 

Also read: F-35 | Menendez’s “yes” on the sale in Greece

German industry has contributed to the F-35 program since its inception in 2001 and Lockheed Martin continues to actively explore additional industrial participation opportunities that will enable partnerships across the German industry and create jobs in 5th-generation fighter aircraft manufacturing, sustainment, training, research, and development. 

This synergy may pave the way for participation in the program of potential new F-35 customers, such as Greece.

Also read: State Department | Approval for the sale of F-35 fighter jets and military equipment to Germany

Germany announced in March that it plans to buy 35 US F-35 fighter jets to replace its aging Tornado jets.

Yet, the current development is quite surprising, given the fact that Germany is not a member of the program’s partner group and has been granted greater offsets than countries that have signed up for a similar or greater number of Lightning IIs such as Poland, Switzerland, or Finland.

To date, the F-35 operates from 37 bases and ships worldwide, with nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil. There are more than 890 F-35s in service today, with more than 1,890 pilots and 13,570 maintainers trained on the aircraft.

It was recently announced that the assembly of the 1000th F35 had begun after the delivery of the aft fuselage by BAE Systems. The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program began in 2005.

Also read: HAI | Plan for its division and privatization with the introduction of a strategic partner




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