Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) have signed the Lightning Air System National Capability Enterprise (LANCE) 23-27 contract to support the United Kingdom’s F-35 fleet.
The aircraft support contract is valued at approximately £147 million and will ensure and enhance the UK F-35 fleet’s availability and capability to conduct combat missions worldwide.
Under the LANCE 23-27 contract, BAE Systems will serve as the primary subcontractor to Lockheed Martin, providing the majority of personnel at Royal Air Force (RAF) Marham and in deployed locations as required. The joint industry team will deliver air crew, ground crew and mission planning training; technical and operational support; IT support; supply chain management and expertise; and maintenance capabilities.
BAE believes capabilities being provided by the industry team will not only expand maintenance capacity but will also secure more than 140 UK jobs, mainly at RAF Marham, with additional roles contracted within the maintenance teams on site.
Mark Perreault, Lockheed Martin Sustainment Senior Program Manager, said: “The industry team worked closely with the Lightning Delivery Team and the JPO to provide a contract that will support the Lightning Force operations and the increasing inventory of jets. The services and expertise being provided via the LANCE effort will be integral to the daily operations and readiness of the Lightning squadrons of the Royal Navy and RAF. We are proud to partner with BAE Systems and Lightning Team UK and look forward to continuing support to the UK’s F-35 fleet.”
The contract continues the pre-existing sustainment service at RAF Marham and expands its scope, with BAE Systems providing site lead duties and coordinating operations with Lockheed Martin.
Dave Leach, Head of UK F-35 Sustainment, BAE Systems Air Sector, commented: “We are really proud to be able to build on and continue our successful delivery of support to the UK Lightning Fleet alongside our industry partners as part of Lightning Team UK. At RAF Marham, as an industry team and alongside Defence Equipment & Support, the RAF and Royal Navy, we will support the continued growth of the UK Lightning Force over the coming years through the provision of industry skills and expertise on the F-35, along with our partner Lockheed Martin, whilst pursuing opportunities to drive efficiency across the broader UK Combat Air Portfolio in which BAE Systems has involvement.”
Air Cdre Phil Brooker, Head Lightning II Delivery Team & Combat Air Principal Engineer, DE&S, added: “The signature of the LANCE contract is a significant milestone in the maturity of the UK’s F-35 National Support Solution and demonstrates confidence in Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems’ ability to enable the nation’s critical F-35 Freedom of Action capability and deliver the necessary support to the UK Warfighter. Adopting lessons from the previous two year ‘Operate and Demonstrate’ phase contract, LANCE 23 offers value for money, whilst also increasing the overall scope from the previous contract and introducing significant capability enhancements critical to the generation of Air Vehicle Availability. Additionally, BAES as the on-site lead ensures that wider UK Combat Air portfolio synergies are realized, and drives a culture of continuous improvement, marking out the MOD, US DoD and industry as valued strategic partners.”