31 Dec 15. Lockheed wins $5.3bn contract for C-130J aircraft. U.S. weapons maker Lockheed Martin Corp said on Thursday it would deliver a total of 78 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to the U.S. government as part of a multiyear contract, worth $5.3bn.
The U.S. Department of Defense said on Wednesday that it had already awarded $1bn in funding for the first 32 aircraft. The company said it would deliver the planes between 2016 and 2020. Lockheed said in October it had reached a verbal agreement with the U.S. Air Force for a five-year contract to build up to 83 C-130J transport planes for the Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. The Super Hercules planes can touch down on austere landing zones – essentially makeshift runways – and are often used for humanitarian relief missions and special operations. Lockheed has delivered 60 Super Hercules aircraft to the U.S. Air Force and U.S Marine Corps from 2003-2008 under a previous contract. (Source: Reuters)
28 Dec 15. Defense 2016: A Year of Big Decisions. The defense industry is bracing for another year of tough business decisions and dicey balancing acts. With more clarity about projected military spending by the United States over the next two years, defense contractors are poised to make some bold moves to shore up their business and secure new deals, analysts predict. A change in administration looms large but companies can ill afford a wait-and-see attitude with shareholders ratcheting up the pressure to deliver short-term financial returns. “I don’t sense that industry is sitting around,” says defense and aerospace industry consultant Kerry Millar, of Deloitte. Companies are “very focused on getting things done knowing that there will be a change in the White House,” he says. “But there is a long runway next year before the election” and executives feel a sense of urgency to go after programs and work to deliver on the programs they’ve already won.” These tactical concerns will have to be balanced against longer term issues affecting all government contractors, such as a continued squeeze on federal spending and a growing innovation gap. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
30 Dec 15. Pentagon Says F-35 Program on the Right Track. Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office say they’ve finished delivering jets for 2015, increasing their yield from last year by 25 percent. Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman with the F-35 office at the Pentagon, said 45 F-35s were delivered, which met Lockheed and the program office’s delivery goal for the year and exceeded last year’s deliveries by nine jets.
“Meeting aircraft production goals is a critical stepping stone in demonstrating the program is ready for the expected significant production ramp up,” Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the F-35 program’s executive officer, said in a press release.
Lorraine Martin, Lockheed’s F-35 program general manager, said the 2015 deliveries were “a clear demonstration of our growing maturity and stability.”
The performance boost represents good news for Hill Air Force Base, which accepted its first two jets in September and will continue to count on a steady income of fighters until 2019 to fill three F-35 squadrons.
Base spokesman Rich Essary said it has received a total five jets so far, with the next one scheduled to arrive in January. Essary said the plan is for Hill AFB to continue to accept jets at a rate of one or two each month until they receive their full allotment of 72.
By August 2016, the base hopes to have 15 jets in place in order to reach what the Air Force calls “initial operational capability,” which means Hill AFB has met the minimum goal to use the jets for normal operations.
On Dec. 11, Maj. Jayson Rickard, a reservist with the 466th Fighter Squadron, flew the 100th F-35 sortie at Hill AFB since the first combat aircraft arrived in September.
Of the 45 jets delivered in 2015, the lion’s share has gone to the Air Force, which has received 26 F-35As. The Marine C