Lockheed Martin is seeking to lockdown by December the design for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) version to be released to foreign partners involved in the programme’s system development and demonstration (SDD) phase. Dubbed the SDD-Delta design, the international version must balance compliance with the unique requirements of the foreign partners, Lockheed’s overriding emphasis on commonality and the technical release constraints imposed by the US government’s export policy.
Unique requirements under review range from major structural changes to more simple add-ons, such as the provision of a drag-chute for Norwegian use. Foreign partners are also seeking alternatives to Lockheed’s plan to install an autonomous logistics system, with some having voiced sovereignty concerns about its ability to manage spare parts inventories automatically by tail number. The manufacturer is working on a compromise plan that would allow foreign governments to manage their own spare parts inventories while using the autonomous system to request shipments.
Lockheed is less flexible on approving even minor structural changes to the F-35, saying the “baseline [US/UK version] requirements are sufficient” for all partners.
Source: Flight International