The Ministry of Defence in Finland and Lockheed Martin have taken the first steps in the F-35 fighter program. VTT, alongside a consortium that includes key Finnish universities, is helping to ensure that Finland has the best possible technological capabilities for the implementation of the F-35 fighter program and its maintenance throughout its life cycle. As a partner, VTT works with Lockheed Martin to communicate and reach the set goals in industrial development and research with various stakeholders in Finland.
As Finnish government decided on the procurement of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighters, VTT leads the consortium of Finnish universities in research and industrial development projects.
Lockheed Martin has recognised the value of VTT in leading the communications between different stakeholders in Finland.
VTT’s scope of high-level research and access to global partner networks is vital for the partnership.
Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company. Lockheed Martin serves both domestic and international customers with products and services that have defence, civil and commercial applications, with the company's principal customers being agencies of the U.S. Government. In addition, Sikorsky (a Lockheed Martin Company) provides military and rotary-wing aircraft to all five branches of the U.S. armed forces along with military services and commercial operators in 40 nations.
Ensuring security of supply for Finland
In late 2021, as the Finnish government decided on the procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II multi-role fighters, it was also agreed that separate projects for industrial participation would take place. The aim of these projects is to implement intellectual properties that are critical for security of supply for various stakeholders such as original equipment manufacturers, universities and defence industry.
The industrial participation solution will also develop credible expertise in the domestic industry from the security of supply perspective and will play an important role in national security and economy.
Forming a consortium to suit the client’s needs
The scope of the program meant that VTT had to move quickly and use its vast network of partners and existing infrastructure to lead the formation of a consortium of leading Finnish universities. VTT assembled the research consortium on behalf of the Finnish Ministry of Defence in close cooperation with universities and industrial business coordinators. The main goal for VTT was to make things as easy as possible for Lockheed Martin: everything can be communicated with one partner.
“We want to do things with academia whenever it is possible and feasible. When we came to Finland and started to pull different threads, VTT was an easy and natural choice. And in the end, they’ve claimed an even bigger role in the project than what we anticipated,” says Jim Mlynarski, Industry Development Lead from Lockheed Martin.
“Always focused on getting problems solved”
As the projects have started to expand, Lockheed Martin and VTT have gotten to know each other better every day. But what are the expectations going forward?
“The key thing, of course, is to achieve the goals that we set out at the start of project and introduce Lockheed Martin’s industrial participation skills. But we would also like to establish flourishing relationships with different companies and developers that can continue for decades,” Mlynarski says.
“So far VTT has been very cooperative: when we need something, we get answers, and they are always focused on getting problems solved. But we’ve also been surprised by the depth and breadth of research that VTT provides. It was actually quite overwhelming when we saw the scope of the research. It’s competitive when comparing to universities in the US,” Mlynarski concludes.
So far VTT has been very cooperative: when we need something, we get answers, and they are always focused on getting problems solved. But we’ve also been surprised by the depth and breadth of research that VTT provides.
Aiming to exceed expectations
As the project rolls forward, VTT is aiming to surprise and even surpass Lockheed Martin’s expectations. With the unique combination of global partner networks, cutting-edge infrastructure, high-level research and business understanding, VTT hopes to find new opportunities in the US and around the world.
“We’re excited and eager to work with Lockheed Martin, as we feel the project perfectly aligns with the talent and expertise we have here. We’re also confident that this is a great possibility to showcase our services to other potential partners in North America,” says Timo Jaakkola, Customer Account Lead at VTT.
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