The Joint Strike Fighter program has extended its international reach with Italian officials signing a memorandum of understanding to participate in the development of the multirole aircraft.
The United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway are already members of the program.
An international team led by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, a business area of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, is under contract to develop the JSF for the armed forces of those nations, as well as for the United States air force, navy and marine corps.
Countries participating in the ten-year System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the JSF program will have the opportunity to supply parts and systems, influence the aircraft’s design and capabilities, and place representatives in the government’s JSF program office.
Over the life of the program’s SDD phase, Italy will contribute approximately $1 billion to the JSF’s development.
The next-generation JSF is a radar-evading, supersonic multirole fighter designed to meet the US government’s requirements for a new generation of transformational weapons.
The single-engine JSF will be manufactured in three versions: a conventional-takeoff-and-landing (CTOL) variant for the US air force, an aircraft-carrier version (CV) for the US navy, and a short-takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) version for the US marine corps.
The United Kingdom is evaluating both the STOVL and CV versions. Most international interest is expected to focus on the CTOL model.