F35 Joint Strike Fighter (photo : Australian Aviation)
Air force jets will be on time
THE Royal Australian Air Force will gets its first two Joint Strike Fighters on time in 2014, despite production delays in the US, their manufacturer Lockheed Martin says.
Company officials said in Canberra yesterday the RAAF should have a squadron of 14 of the fighter bombers by 2018, as planned.
The government says it wants to buy up to 100 multi-role JSFs to replace the retired F-111 bombers and the RAAF's F/A-18 Hornet fighter-bombers.
The first two JSFs, now designated the F-35 Lightning ll, will be used to train Australian pilots and ground crew in the US.
The Lockheed Martin officials said yesterday they had won the $3.5 billion contract to supply the navy's new helicopter that will replace its ageing Seahawks.
The company has teamed up with US helicopter firm Sikorsky to offer the new MH-60R Seahawk, or Romeo, and is competing with Eurocopter's NH90 NFH, or NATO Frigate Helicopter.
The officials said they could offer the Australian government a deal whereby the American companies would take back the older helicopters to be refurbished and sold to customers who needed helicopters for less demanding roles.
Lockheed Martin also announced yesterday it has appointed retired naval officer Raydon Gates as chief executive for Lockheed Martin Australia.