Describing itself as a "Fighter Enterprise", Lockheed Martin is sporting an aggressive stance at Farnborough and touting a wide array of military aircraft products.

A priority at the show, the company says, is the marketing of its concept for the US/UK Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme.

The three contenders for this multi-service fighter programme, deliveries for which are scheduled to begin around 2007, will be rationalised in November when just two concept-demonstration contracts are awarded by the US Department of Defense.

The company is confident of its chances. "Lockheed Martin is looking forward to receiving one of the two concept-demonstration contracts for the Joint Strike Fighter programme," says the company, which was born just two years ago after the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta.

Also hoping to get through to the JSF concept-demonstrator phase are Boeing and a McDonnell Douglas-led team with Northrop-Grumman and British Aerospace.

The JSF will meet the next-generation needs of the US Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps as well as the Royal Navy.

The aircraft is expected also to have broad potential for worldwide sales as a follow-on from the F-16. "Lockheed Martin's JSF approach emphasises affordability and low technical risk, combined with lethality, supportability and survivability - also known as stealth," the company says.



The company feels its main strength lies in the fact that it was the only contractor to build and test a vertical-lift propulsion system under the US Government's Advanced Short Take-off and Vertical Landing (ASTOVL) contract, which later became part of the JSF programme.

The system was operated for 200h in tests, which were completed in March.

However, Lockheed Martin, which is featuring its JSF concept prominently in its exhibit, also feels that its wide expertise in producing fighter aircraft is another advantage.

"Our message is that Lockheed Martin is a Fighter Enterprise, offering a range of products to meet our customers' needs," says company spokesman Joe Stout.

"We offer the world's most affordable high-performance multi-role fighter, the F-16, and also more specialised aircraft like the F-117 and F-22."

An F-16 will give daily flight demonstrations at the show, sporting a new routine which Lockheed Martin says is designed to show that its combat capability is equal to or better than the newer fighters performing here.

The company says it is "aggressively courting" the countries of Central Europe with this aircraft - and sees worldwide potential for up to 800 additional sales over the next 10-15 years.


Source: Flight Daily News