09/14/2005 09:50:45 AM
Suppliers for the U.S. Defense Department's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will
soon be asked to formally bid for work on the program's first production
jets, according to prime contractor Lockheed Martin.
A draft request for proposals (RFP) for those initial production aircraft
will be sent to suppliers later this week, said Dan Crowley, executive vice
president and F-35 general manager at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.
The draft RFP will cover five jets for the first low-rate initial production
(LRIP 1) batch and 18 jets for LRIP 2, said Navy Rear Adm. Steven Enewold,
the government's JSF program executive officer, who joined Crowley in
speaking at a press briefing Sept. 13 at the Air Force Association's Air &
Space Conference in Washington.
The LRIP 1 aircraft will all be in the Air Force's conventional takeoff and
landing (CTOL) configuration. LRIP 2 will be for eight CTOLs and 10 Marine
Corps short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variants.
Lockheed Martin hopes to receive a government contract for LRIP 1 long-lead
items in March 2006 and a contract for the remaining funding for LRIP 1 in
fiscal 2007. Enewold said LRIP 1 aircraft will first be used for tactics
development and will likely later be used for training.
Companies that have performed well in the program's ongoing system
development and demonstration (SDD) phase likely will remain suppliers for
LRIP, Enewold said.
Lockheed Martin already is under contract to provide 23 test aircraft for
SDD. The first of those jets is being assembled by Lockheed Martin at its
Fort Worth, Texas, plant to prepare for JSF's first flight in August 2006.
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