LOCKHEED MARTIN has had to turn to Russia's former advanced short take-off and vertical-landing (ASTOVL) specialist Yakovlev because it has been blocked from gaining access to Western ASTOVL technology.
Lockheed Martin and Yakovlev are discussing a technology-access agreement whereby the US Company would be able to utilise Yakovlev's work on its ASTOVL designs. The deal has yet to be cleared by the US Department of Defense (DoD).
Mickey Blackwell, president of Lockheed Martin's aeronautics sector, says that the company cannot gain access to British Aerospace ASTOVL technologies because of the commercial agreement between the UK company and McDonnell Douglas.
Lockheed Martin is in competition with McDonnell Douglas and British Aerospace on the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) programme. This is aimed at eventually producing both a conventional take-off and landing and an ASTOVL aircraft for the US Air force and US Navy.
Blackwell says that the company has tried to persuade the UK Ministry of Defence, which has a memorandum of understanding with the DoD on JAST, that it should have access to UK industrial information.