DOD, U.K. sign next stage Joint Strike Fighter agreement

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United States and United Kingdom officials signed a memorandum of understanding Dec. 12 to begin future cooperation in the production, sustainment and follow-on development, called PSFD, phase of the Joint Strike Fighter program.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England and United Kingdom Minister for Defense Procurement Lord Paul R. Drayson signed the MOU as England joins Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States as nations that have signed the JSF PSFD agreement.

Denmark, Italy, Norway, and Turkey are scheduled to sign in the near future.

This new MOU will expand cooperation among the nine JSF partner nations beyond the ongoing JSF system development and demonstration phase, providing a framework for future JSF program efforts in production and beyond.

The United Kingdom was the first JSF partner, and is committing over $2 billion to the development phase of the overall JSF program. The U.K. plans to acquire up to 150 short take-off and vertical landing versions of the JSF, and will participate with the U.S. in the JSF aircraft's operational test and evaluation prior to achievement of initial operational capability early in the next decade.

The United Kingdom's signature of the PSFD MOU will continue to strengthen the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, not only in terms of providing air dominance, but also interoperability, defense transformation, modernization, cost reduction, acquisition excellence, and best possible use of the nations' respective industrial bases.

Joint Strike Fighter, as the largest ever U.S. Defense Department acquisition program, continues to set new standards in development of manufacturing technologies, acquisition and business practices, technology transfer, and export licensing. The first test aircraft is on-track for its first flight in mid December.

The JSF program is providing opportunities for partner industries through the best value model, selecting manufacturers and maintainers based on a combination of quality, price, and timeliness.

Once the JSF PSFD MOU signing process is completed, the partners will cooperatively develop, produce, test, train and operate a Lightning II JSF Air System that will enhance the interoperability, survivability, and affordability of our future forces. Continued U.K. participation reinforces the longstanding and close relationship between the U.S. and U.K. armed forces, providing a solid foundation for future air operations with other allied and friendly nations in a joint and coalition environment.

(Courtesy of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Public Affairs)

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