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Italy Signs-On As New Joint Strike Fighter Partner

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2002 – Italy today officially signed on as a partner to develop the Joint Strike Fighter.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics E.C. "Pete" Aldridge Jr. and Italy's Secretary General of Defense and National Armaments Director Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola sign Joint Strike Fighter program memorandums of understanding today at a Pentagon ceremony. (Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore)
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics E.C. "Pete" Aldridge Jr. and Italy's Secretary General of Defense and National Armaments Director Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola signed memorandums of understanding pertaining to the JSF program at a Pentagon ceremony.

"We are delighted to have Italy now as a full-fledged member of our (JSF) team, and we look forward to seeing a great relationship as we build this terrific fighter," Aldridge said after the signing ceremony, which was attended by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

Italy -- investing just over $1 billion to help support the aircraft's developmental and demonstration costs -- is the sixth nation to join an international partnership to co- develop the JSF with America. The other partners are the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway.

Di Paola noted the JSF is a truly 21st-century aircraft designed for joint purposes that could be employed by both the Italian Navy and Air Force. Italy, he added, also is a major participant in the joint Euro-Fighter program.

The JSF, Di Paola emphasized, "will boost our joint capabilities to conduct and support coalition operations," including NATO military missions.

Aldridge noted Turkey is anticipated to sign on as another JSF partner with the United States. He added that U.S. officials are also having JSF discussions with Australian government officials.

Other JSF discussions with Singapore and Israel involve "a different relationship than the partnership we currently have on the Joint Strike Fighter," Aldridge said.

The largest-ever DoD acquisition program, the JSF program sets new standards in development of manufacturing technologies, acquisition and business practices, and export licensing, according to a DoD news release.

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