Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, MD; NYSE: LMT) selected Raytheon (Waltham, MA; NYSE: RTN) to develop and deliver the next generation Distributed Aperture System (DAS) for the F-35 fighter jet. The result of a Lockheed Martin-led competition, the selection will enhance capability and reduce cost. The F-35's DAS collects and sends high-resolution, real-time imagery to the pilot's helmet or heads up display (HUD) from six infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft. With the ability to detect and track threats from any angle, the F-35 DAS gives pilots unprecedented situational awareness of the battlespace.
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"The supply chain competition for the next generation F-35 Distributed Aperture System resulted in significant cost savings, reliability and performance improvements," said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. "We are aggressively pursuing cost reduction across the F-35 enterprise and this initiative is a clear demonstration of our unrelenting commitment to reduce costs and deliver transformational capabilities for the warfighter."
The Raytheon-built DAS will be integrated into F-35 aircraft starting with Lot 15 aircraft, expected to begin deliveries in 2023. The next generation DAS system is estimated to generate the following results compared to the current system: more than $3 billion in life cycle cost savings with approximately 45% reduction in unit recurring cost and greater than 50% reduction in operations and sustainment cost; five times more reliability; two times performance capability improvement; and a direct benefit to aircraft readiness and service manpower requirements.
"Raytheon's solution delivers next generation capability for the fifth generation F-35," said Roy Azevedo, VP of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. "Our focus is on providing pilots every tactical advantage imaginable while ensuring taxpayers receive the best value possible."
With stealth technology, advanced sensors, weapons capacity and range, Lockheed Martin says the F-35 is the most lethal, survivable, and connected fighter aircraft ever built. More than a fighter jet, the F-35's ability to collect, analyze, and share data is a powerful force multiplier enhancing all airborne, surface, and ground-based assets in the battlespace and enabling men and women in uniform to execute their mission and come home safe.