Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems sign £147M contract to support UK F-35 fleet

Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems have signed a £147M contract to provide support services for the UK’s F-35 fleet, ensuring its availability and enhancing its combat capabilities. The contract, called Lightning Air System National Capability Enterprise (LANCE) 23-27, will see BAE Systems serve as the primary subcontractor to Lockheed Martin, providing personnel at Royal Air Force (RAF) Marham and in deployed locations as required.

Under the LANCE 23-27 contract, the joint industry team will deliver aircrew, ground crew and mission planning training, technical and operational support, IT support, supply chain management and expertise, and maintenance capabilities. 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.

The contract will not only expand maintenance capacity but will also secure more than 140 UK jobs, mainly at RAF Marham, with additional roles contracted within the maintenance teams on site. The industry team worked closely with the Lightning Delivery Team and the JPO to provide a contract that will support the Lightning Force operations and the increasing inventory of jets.

Dave Leach, Head of UK F-35 Sustainment at BAE Systems Air Sector, expressed pride in the company’s ability to build on and continue its successful delivery of support to the UK Lightning Fleet alongside industry partners as part of Lightning Team UK.

Lockheed Martin’s Sustainment Senior Program Manager, Mark Perreault, said, “The capabilities being provided by the industry team will not only expand maintenance capacity but will also secure more than 140 UK jobs, mainly at RAF Marham, with additional roles contracted within the maintenance teams on site.”

The contract continues the pre-existing sustainment service at RAF Marham and expands its scope, with BAE Systems providing site lead duties and coordinating operations with Lockheed Martin. The signature of the LANCE contract is a significant milestone in the maturity of the UK’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.

Air Cdre Phil Brooker, Head Lightning II Delivery Team & Combat Air Principal Engineer at DE&S, said, “The LANCE 23-27 contract 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. Additionally, BAES as the on-site lead ensures that wider UK Combat Air portfolio synergies are realized and drives a culture of Continuous Improvement, marking out the MOD, US DoD and Industry as valued strategic partners.”

The F-35 program relies on industry partners to provide sustainment services for the worldwide F-35 fleet as part of the program’s Global Support Solution, including spares and repairs, technical support and training, and engineering services. Both Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems have a long track record of delivering on world-leading combat air platforms.

The LANCE contract is a significant step forward in the UK’s defense capabilities, ensuring the availability and enhancing the combat capabilities of the F-35 fleet. The contract will also secure jobs for more than 140 UK personnel, primarily at RAF Marham, while driving efficiency across the broader UK Combat Air Portfolio.

The UK’s F-35 fleet is critical to the nation’s defense and represents a significant investment in advanced military technology, providing enhanced capabilities and readiness for conducting combat missions worldwide.