“NATO is just as essential today to our security as it was 70 years ago when the North Atlantic Treaty was first signed. The strategic partnerships and deep relationships flowing from seven decades of cooperation provide a strong foundation for taking on our 21st century challenges together” such is the assessment of Jonathan Hoyle, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin Europe.
In an exclusive interview treating on NATO’s 70th anniversary, to be published in the next issue of MT, Hoyle said an alliance that is fully equipped with advanced technology is more flexible and better prepared to confront a wide range of modern threats. Commenting on the relationship between NATO and his company, he stated “We see our technologies as a bridge that brings NATO nations and their allies together, creating opportunities to collaborate and innovate, strengthening national security and economic security for generations to come.”
The company’s top manager sees the F-35 LIGHTNING II as “a prime example of an interoperable platform that is providing significant advantages to NATO forces.” Eight of the nine F-35 partner nations are members of NATO and the benefits of the programme go beyond the fifth-generation fighter’s performance in the air: the Final Assembly and Check Out facility in Italy is already delivering aircraft, for example.
Hoyle also stated that the programme has a broad supply chain that includes small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) from around the world, with about 25 % of every F-35 by value being built by European industry. With the innovation and expertise of these SMEs, the F-35 programme strengthens shared defence capabilities, spurs economic growth and creates new jobs. The result is both technological advantage and more robust national economies.
For Lockheed Martin, ballistic missile defence (BMD) is another example of the benefits of a cooperative approach to common defence. In Europe, BMD requirements are creating opportunities for NATO’s industry partners to work together to develop open architecture systems. Hoyle emphasized “Leaders around the world are making it clear that threats are increasing, and regional security and terrorism are top of their concerns.”
Referring to the pledge by NATO members to invest 2% of GDP on defence, Hoyle believes this will go a long way towards helping the industry partners make the long-term investments in R&D that yield the most promising innovations. He is convinced that, in an age where customers rely on electronic systems for situational awareness and critical communications, dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum is essential to mission success. In this, he sees his company well-positioned “At Lockheed Martin we have taken a leadership role to build an enterprise that can successfully support our customers’ rapidly evolving technology needs well into the future.”