The United Kingdom recently accepted the first international Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II in a ceremony with senior representatives of the U.K. Ministry of Defence and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Survitec Group is one of a number of select British suppliers and partners and was chosen to provide the below neck pilot flight equipment, pilot cooler unit, single person life raft and additionally the provision of Pilot Fitting facilities.
The Right Honourable Philip Hammond, U.K. Secretary of State for Defence, and Mr. Frank Kendall, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, represented their governments.
“We are here to celebrate an important ‘first’ among so many milestones associated with the F-35 program,” said Bob Stevens, Lockheed Martin chairman and chief executive officer. “It’s fitting that our first delivery to an international partner is to the United Kingdom, because without sustained British innovation over many generations, we would not have an event to celebrate today.”
The F-35 is being developed with Lockheed Martin and its industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Survitec Group has worked very closely with Lockheed Martin to ensure the provision of a fully integrated yet modular clothing system designed to improve pilot performance and operational effectiveness.
David Griffiths, Vice President of Defence Sales, Survitec Group commented “We are delighted to see the first F-35 delivered to the UK MoD considering the considerable contribution from British industry. At Survitec this has been a major programme for us and we have worked intensively on the technical approach to garment and product design to deliver a high quality, low burden, solution with integrity and quality assurance proven by in-service performance.”
Survitec Group’s centre of technical excellence for Pilot Flight Equipment is based in Birkenhead. Also key to Survitec’s successful contribution has been the availability of in-house dedicated testing facilities for aircraft integration and qualification, combined with effective partnering with other UK vendors, notably Martin-Baker and Honeywell to provide optimised pilot life support and escape systems.
“At our Eglin AFB Pilot Fit Facility, we capture each pilot’s anthropometric data, deliver familiarization training, and ensure that the initial fitting is completed to ensure effective functionality. This has been a vital component of the F-35 programme, resulting in a truly world class total support solution.” continued Griffiths.