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Thu, Jul 20, 2006

Lockheed Defends F-35 In Farnborough

Says GAO Misrepresenting Chance Of Problems

Representatives with Lockheed Martin are using this week's Farnborough International Air Show to send a clear message: there are NO problems with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, newly designated the "Lightning II" by the US Air Force.

Despite warnings from the Government Accountability Office that have eroded support for the plane... and put its future funding in jeopardy... Lockheed says development of the fighter is proceeding right on schedule.

Furthermore, executives at Lockheed Martin emphatically told attendees at the large show that the F-35 will NOT run into any significant problems, even though production is set to begin even while prototypes continue to undergo flight testing.

Lockheed Martin executives say the criticism is coming from those in the government who don't know as much about the finer points of the program as those inside the company -- and while they acknowledged that issues are still likely to crop up, Lockheed Martin says they are unlikely to pose major problems.

As Lockheed's F-35 program chief Dan Crowley puts it... "people give it (the GAO) more credence than it probably deserves."

Those are harsh words coming from a government contractor... but still tamer than some of the accusations levied against the Lightning II.

Now, the only question is... which side are customers most likely to believe?

FMI: www.lockheedmartin.com, www.gao.gov

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