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19 Jul 04. The FT reported today that Lockheed Martin and its partners on Monday sought to dispel concerns that the jump jet version of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was in trouble because the aircraft was overweight.

The short take-off and vertical landing variant (STOVL) of the aircraft is crucial to the UK military, which is planning to buy up to 150 aircraft to replace its ageing Harrier jump jets, early next decade.

The $200bn JSF programme is expected to be the largest combat aircraft project in history. The UK and seven other countries – including Italy and Australia – are helping to fund the development with the US.

The US Marine Corp plans to buy several hundred of the STOVL aircraft to replace its own Harriers. Lockheed, which is heading an industry team that includes Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and engine maker Pratt & Whitney, has orders for just over 2,500 aircraft. Most are conventional versions destined for the US air force and navy. The weight problem with the aircraft has held up a decision by the UK’s Royal Navy on ordering two new aircraft carriers, which are being designed around the JSF. The two ships would have to be substantially modified if the STOVL version of JSF failed to materialise.

But on Monday the company insisted the jump jet version was back on track after slowing development work down across the entire JSF programme.

“We are back into detailed design with confidence we have a configuration that will meet STOVL performance requirements, leading to first flight in 2007,” said Dain Hancock, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

Earlier this year it was revealed that design projections had determined that the jump jet version of the aircraft was between 2,500lb and 2,800lb too heavy. Michael Cosentino, international programmes director for the F-35, said a team of 500 engineers tasked with cutting the weight had already identified 1,600lb of savings. “We have great confidence that the STOVL version will be a success,” he said, predicting the weight gap would be closed completely.Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies, is also investigating the possibility of the increasing the power output of the engine that will power the first JSFs.Louis Chenervet, president of P&W, said: “There is no doubt in my mind” that the STOVL version will fly,”


19 Jul 04. AMS is leading the consortium which was set up to provide the entire Combat System for the Italian Navy’s biggest vessel Aircraft Carrier. The consortium consists of a number of companies within the Finmeccanica group together with Fincantieri and other Italian firms. Thus AMS is responsible from a technical and contractual viewpoint for the supply and integration of the new aircraft carrier’s combat system and is the sole interface to the end-customer and organisations involved in financing the programme.

In its role as consortium lead, AMS is also responsible for the following: studies to define the combat system complete architecture, physical/functional and performance integration of the whole Combat System and supply and integration of the Combat Management System. The latter follows from AMS’s involvement in the Horizon programme and is developed by the CMS Italia consortium in which AMS and Datamat both hold a 50% share. AMS is also in charge of the design and installation of the whole Combat System via the Cisdeg consortium.

With regard to the supply of subsystems, AMS is responsible for the EMPAR multifunction, three-dimensional, phased array radar (for simultaneous surveillance, tracking and fire control) and its integration into the SAAM-IT missile system, the RASS 30X/I surface radar which allows for increased sea-skimmer missile interception capacity and the design and development of the new RAN 40 L, three-dimensional, long-range radar.

AMS is also responsib

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