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LANCE Supports RAF F-35 Fleet Availability and Capability

£76 Million Support Contract for Lockheed Martin

A £76 million (€85.4 million) contract, known as Lightning Air system National Capability Enterprise (LANCE), has been signed with Lockheed Martin and will provide expertise and support in aircraft maintenance, bespoke UK training courses for pilots, groundcrew and engineers, and logistical and technical support for the RAF’s F-35 LIGHTNING II fleet, the MoD announced on 14 January.

Providing additional experienced technical personnel at existing facilities, the contract will also allow three new capabilities to come into operation: an ejection seat maintenance workshop; a ‘pilot fit facility’ to fit aircrew equipment; and component spray facility to transfer coatings onto aircraft components. Giving the UK more freedom to operate its fleet of F-35s, LANCE will also increase the number of flying hours available, alongside delivering important mission planning, training and maintenance capabilities.

Based at RAF Marham, home of the UK LIGHTNING Force, the investment reflects the increasing size of the UK’s F-35 fleet – which now stands at 21 aircraft – and will create and secure 172 jobs, mainly at the Norfolk base. The contract will provide support for 25 months, with an option for a further three months. The majority of the work will be carried out by subcontractor BAE Systems. The support provided by the contract will be crucial in ensuring the fleet is ready and prepared when it sails with HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH on her maiden Global Carrier Strike Group ‘21 deployment later.

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