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Lockheed’s F-35 draws Interest From 25 Countries; Larry Lawson Comments

Larry Lawson

More than 25 countries have shown interest in Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, according to a Reuters article.

Korea, which is looking to add 60 jets to its arsenal, is one of those countries but is looking at Boeing Co‘s F-15 fighter and the four-nation European Typhoon as well.

According to Andrea Shalal-Esa’s article, Korea will visit Lockheed’s Fort Worth, Tx. production facility later this year for data-gathering from classified simulator tests.

Lockheed’s $396 billion F-35 program is currently completing development and testing, starting pilot training and drumming up more foreign orders.

The program has been in existence since 2001 when Lockheed won the Joint Strike Fighter contract.

It has since undergone cost overruns and technical challenges but is back on track, according to Lockheed and military officials.

Larry Lawson, executive vice president for aeronautics at Lockheed, told Reuters at the Farnborough Air Show that the company is executing to plan and becoming predictable.

A sign of a program on track is there have been 595 test flights thus far in 2012, versus the 445 test flights planned.

Additionally, four more jets were delivered to the U.S. government this week, bringing the total number to 30.

Lockheed officials declined to identify any of the other countries exploring possible F-35 purchases, which are handled on a government-to-government basis, but said they had been engaged in nonstop meetings at the air show according to Reuters.

Eight countries have already placed orders for the aircraft including Britain, Italy, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Israel and Japan.

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