Jun 30, 2014

Italy Seeks Bigger JSF Workshare

Italy’s defense minister, during a Friday meeting with US Defense Secretary, will ask the US to boost the Italian workshare on the Joint Strike Fighter program at its final assembly line, even as Italy reduces spending on the aircraft.
Italy has built a final assembly line for its JSFs at its Cameri air base in northern Italy, which is facing a shortfall in production after Italy cut its order from 131 to 90 aircraft.
A deal has meanwhile been struck to assemble Dutch jets at the plant. Talks are also underway with Norway.
However Norway’s first JSF is in the early stages of assembly at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility and Norway does not plan to switch facilities.
Italy has also frozen the signing of new JSF contracts following a vote last year in parliament over budget concerns. Only six aircraft have been contracted from the program’s low rate initial production (LRIP) 6 and 7.
Italy has also authorized procurement of long-lead items for two LRIP 8 conventional JSFs and two LRIP 9 aircraft — a conventional version and a short-takeoff vertical-landing (STOVL) aircraft.
No further orders will be made until a new white paper on Italy’s defense requirements is completed in December.
The freeze on orders has affected payments for long-lead items for four LRIP 10 aircraft, two conventional and two STOVL, which were due in February to maintain delivery schedules.

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