Face-To-Face With Lockheed Martin’s New CEO
By Anthony L. Velocci, Jr. , Joseph C. Anselmo
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
Where are you on the F-35 software?
We're well along on the software development and testing in labs and flights. We're moving through the various blocks of software updates. We delivered the latest version several months late. However, we have worked with the Joint Program Office to re-baseline the Block 2B schedule and are now on track to deliver the next software release in January. We're making good progress.
There are reports that Canada and Australia, two of the staunchest F-35 partners, are starting to have second thoughts because of the cost and delays. What do you say to those nations to keep them on board?
Canada and Australia are very smart, savvy buyers. They're going to constantly look at, 'Where are my requirements and what do I need?' I think the F-35 certainly brings them unique capabilities. As I've said, we're progressing well and bringing the cost down. So frankly I think it's the best choice for them as they move forward.
So you're confident they can be kept on board?
Yes. This is a capability that they need. As the Canadians go through their evaluation process, I expect the F-35 will prevail. And Australia hasn't said it's not going to buy the F-35—it is a timing issue for them.
Should Lockheed Martin do more to improve its risk management?
I think we have a well-tuned process for risk management and program management and [identifying] early warning signs. I would welcome anyone to look at our process. We're performing very well on the majority of our programs. We track technical challenges, costs, schedule, all those elements, from the lowest level all the way up to my level. As I look at how we're performing on our programs, I have never seen better.
So do you think your company is getting a bad rap because so much attention is focused on the larger-than-life Joint Strike Fighter?