Log in
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
New member
Sign up for FREE
New customer
Discover our services
Dynamic quotes 


SummaryMost relevantAll NewsAnalyst Reco.Other languagesPress ReleasesOfficial PublicationsSector newsMarketScreener Strategies

Australian lawmakers confident in F-35's future

02/28/2013 | 12:59am EDT
Handout photo of workers on the moving line and forward fuselage assembly areas for the F-35 JSF at Lockheed Martin Corp's factory located in Fort Worth, Texas

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia's conservative opposition, which is expected to win elections in September, said on Thursday it supported Lockheed Martin's (>> Lockheed Martin Corporation) troubled F-35 to be the country's next frontline warplane, despite problems and huge cost blowouts.

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia's conservative opposition, which is expected to win elections in September, said on Thursday it supported Lockheed Martin's (>> Lockheed Martin Corporation) troubled F-35 to be the country's next frontline warplane, despite problems and huge cost blowouts.

A day after the Pentagon's F-35 program chief lashed Lockheed and engine maker Pratt & Whitney for trying to "squeeze every nickel" out of the U.S. government, Australian lawmakers expressed confidence in the futuristic jet.

"The air force is supportive of the project, wants the aircraft and sees it as the future, as do we," said Senator David Johnston, defense spokesman for the opposition, which is forecast to sweep away the minority Labor government in a September 14 vote.

"It is pertinent to our immediate region and it fits into our air combat doctrine perfectly, and to some extent leads the doctrine," Johnston told Reuters from Washington on Thursday after briefings on the F-35 with U.S. officials, who told him the aircraft was "over the hump" with its development.

Australia, a close American ally, is one of the largest international customers for the F-35, with plans to buy up to 100 to replace its ageing fleet of F/A-18 Hornet fighters and already retired F-111 strike bombers, at a cost of A$16 billion.

But amid delays and development woes with the $396 billion aircraft, including the grounding of the 51 aircraft test fleet last week, Canberra is also expected to decide in June to double its fleet of 24 Boeing Co (>> The Boeing Company) F/A-18 Super Hornets to prevent a frontline gap until the F-35 is delivered later in the decade.

That, and a decision to outfit 12 of the Super Hornets as advanced EA-18G Growlers with radar-jamming electronic weapons - means Canberra will have a mixed frontline fleet.

An announcement on the extra Hornets and the timetable for delivery of the first squadron of F-35s, also known as Joint Strike Fighters (JSF), will likely come in June with the government's release of a new defense strategy blueprint.

Johnston, the man likely to decide the purchase next year if the conservatives win, said while both of Australia's major political blocs differed on defense budgeting and timing of acquisitions, the Joint Strike Fighter had broad support.

"At this stage we are optimistic that Australia will be a customer for a very significant number, although what that number will be is still a little bit up in the air," said Johnston.

Defense analysts predict Australia might end up buying between 50 and 70 of the fighters instead of 100, although Canberra could also buy the full number but over a longer timeframe beyond 2020, depending on a budget recovery.

Australian is also closely watching the budget battle in Washington, where $85 billion worth of spending cuts are due to kick in on Friday, hitting defense and possibly orders for 2,363 F-35s among the U.S. Air Force, Marines and Navy.

Lockheed is developing three variants for the United States and eight partner countries that helped fund the plane's development - Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Canada. Two other countries, Italy and Japan, have also placed orders.

Canada in December flagged it could cut plans to buy 65 aircraft, while Italy has also scaled back orders and Turkey has delayed its purchases by two years.

Australia is the second biggest international buyer after Britain, and its small air force is one of the most technically advanced in Asia and a pointer to emerging regional defense capabilities.

But a slowing of the country's resources export boom is forcing the Labor government to look for savings.

Defense Minister Stephen Smith last May deferred an order for 12 F-35s by two years, and has so far contractually committed to buying only two.

The influential Greens party, which has the upper house Senate balance of power, failed to find support in parliament on Thursday to cancel Australian F-35 orders and put the estimated $13 billion saving into development aid.

The opposition spokesman on military purchasing, Gary Humphries, said a future conservative government would continue with the F-35, as the high-tech jet would smooth cooperation with allied air forces in Japan and possibly Singapore.

"This could be the shape of air power for effectively the 21st Century. The JSF holds much greater promise for Australian air power needs than any other alternative," Humphries said.

"If the JSF fell over entirely, it would put not just the Australian air force, but other air forces around the world in a dire position."

(Editing by Dean Yates)

By Rob Taylor

ę Reuters 2013
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
FRONTLINE LTD. -3.65% 8.18 Delayed Quote.31.51%
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY -1.69% 12.78 Delayed Quote.18.33%
GREENS CO.,LTD. -6.31% 609 End-of-day quote.36.24%
LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION -0.97% 379.19 Delayed Quote.6.82%
RAYTHEON TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION -1.39% 85.92 Delayed Quote.20.15%
THE BOEING COMPANY -0.78% 237.35 Delayed Quote.10.88%
06/19UPDATE1 : Japan mulls dropping plan to procure U.S.-made anti-ship missiles
06/18LOCKHEED MARTINá : Built Next Generation GPS III Satellite Propels Itself To Orb..
06/17TRIUMPHá : Picked by Lockheed Martin to Support F-35 Sustainment at Cherry Point
06/17LOCKHEED MARTINá : Team Freedom Lays Keel for Future USS Cleveland (LCS 31)
06/17LOCKHEED MARTINá : -Built Next Generation GPS III Satellite Propels Itself to Or..
06/07CURTISS WRIGHTá : Secures $24 Million Deal from Lockheed Martin to Upgrade US Na..
06/07LOCKHEED MARTINá : CFO To Speak At The UBS Global Industrials And Transportation..
06/07GOING AGILE : Lockheed Martin Integrating Air Battle Management Capabilities Int..
06/07Some Companies Are Taking Longer to Pay Suppliers Despite Recovery
06/03LOCKHEED MARTINá : To Help NASA Uncover Mysteries Of Venus With VERITAS And DAVI..
More news
Financials (USD)
Sales 2021 68 341 M - -
Net income 2021 7 432 M - -
Net Debt 2021 6 610 M - -
P/E ratio 2021 14,2x
Yield 2021 2,80%
Capitalization 105 B 105 B -
EV / Sales 2021 1,64x
EV / Sales 2022 1,56x
Nbr of Employees 114 000
Free-Float 99,9%
Duration : Period :
Lockheed Martin Corporation Technical Analysis Chart | MarketScreener
Full-screen chart
Technical analysis trends LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 23
Average target price 425,31 $
Last Close Price 379,19 $
Spread / Highest target 26,6%
Spread / Average Target 12,2%
Spread / Lowest Target 1,27%
EPS Revisions
Managers and Directors
James D. Taiclet Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
Kenneth R. Possenriede Chief Financial Officer
Rodney A. Makoske SVP, Chief Engineering, Technology & Operations
Frank A. St. John Chief Operating Officer
Jay Peterson Director-Government Finance & Compliance
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
BAE SYSTEMS PLC9.66%23 828