Lockheed Martin / Mikaela Maschmeier
F-35B BK-24 first flight, February 2, 2021, Fort Worth, Tex.

Lockheed Inks F-35 Sustainment Deal with U.K.

April 4, 2023
A four-year, $225-million contact puts BAE Systems in charge of on-site management for training, supply-chain management, and maintenance and support for F-35B fighter jets in service with the RAF and Royal Navy.

Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Dept. of Defense’s F-35 Joint Program Office entered into a four-year, $225-million contact, including options, with the U.K. Ministry Defence for F-35 fleet maintenance at the RAF Marham airbase.  The new contract continues Lockheed's sustainment service and expands its scope, with BAE Systems managing the on-site activity and coordinating operations with Lockheed Martin.

BAE Systems is one of the F-35 program’s major suppliers. As manager of the Lightning Air System National Capability Enterprise (LANCE) 23-27 contract, which will cover training for air crews, ground crews, and mission planning; technical and operational support; IT support; supply-chain management and expertise; and maintenance capabilities for the aircraft through 2027. LANCE 23-27 will support 140 employees, according to U.K. sources.

“The services and expertise being provided via the LANCE effort will be integral to the daily operations and readiness of the Lightning squadrons of the Royal Navy and RAF,” according to Lockheed Martin’s Mark Perreault, sustainment senior program manager.

The Royal Air Force and Royal Navy operate 30 F-35B aircraft, the “short takeoff and landing” variant of the Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, and the U.K. is currently scheduled to acquire a total of 74 of the stealth fighter jets.

RAF Marham is the home base for two RAF F-35 fighter squadrons. The RAF also operates F-35s from other bases, and the Royal Navy operates F-35s from two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

“The signature of the LANCE contract is a significant milestone in the maturity of the U.K.’s F-35 National Support Solution and demonstrates confidence in Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems’ ability to enable the nation’s critical F-35 Freedom of Action capability and deliver the necessary support to the UK Warfighter,“ stated Air Commodore Phil Brooker, who is the Head for the U.K.’s Lightning II Delivery Team & Combat Air Principal Engineer for MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S). “Adopting lessons from the previous two-year ‘Operate and Demonstrate’ phase contract, LANCE 23 offers value for money, whilst also increasing the overall scope from the previous contract and introducing significant capability enhancements critical to the generation of Air Vehicle Availability.”

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