Australia Eyes Long-Term Industrial Opportunities

MELBOURNE, Australia, 03/11/2009 -- Australian companies have the potential to benefit from long-term business opportunities worth billions of dollars on the F-35 Lightning II program, the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-35 program manager for Australia said today during the Australia International Airshow.

"As the F-35 transitions into full-rate production, opportunities for Australian industry will increase, and they will endure throughout the life of the F-35 program," said Bob Price, F-35 program manager for Australia. "From the outset, Australian industry has participated in the program, and is now demonstrating its excellence in the components, systems and services it supplies."

Since 2003, Lockheed Martin has been developing an Industrial Participation (IP) plan that enables Australia to benefit not only from the aircraft it purchases for its own fleet, but also from the thousands of F-35s sold worldwide.

According to Price, the F-35 "best value model" IP plan is based on open, clear dialogue with Australian industry and government. It also builds on existing industry capabilities and offers sustained growth in technology development, employment and profitability.

Price cited several Australian companies that have already been awarded contracts on the F-35 Program. One such company is Marand Precision Engineering, a supplier of precision tooling and engineered automated production solutions. Marand Precision Engineering won Systems Development and Demonstration-phase contracts for F-35 rate tooling, engine trailers and various engineering services. In fact, during the presentation, Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president for F-35 Program Integration, made a special appearance to present Marand Precision Engineering with a "Supplier of Excellence" award.

Price also cited Lovitt Technologies, an impressive precision engineering company that he visited last week, for being recently awarded multiple LRIP 3 – 7 contracts worth several million U.S. dollars.

"These kinds of opportunities represent a unique and important entry into advanced manufacturing for Australian companies. Never before has there been a chance to provide components, services and systems to a fleet that is expected to grow to more than 3,000 aircraft," Price said.

The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation stealth fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.

F-35 and Lightning II are trademarks of Lockheed Martin Corporation.