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ES & T: They were appointed in October last year to the Country Director of Lockheed Martin (LMCO) for Germany. What is your professional background, what goals you have set for yourself, and what your company expects from you?

Walford: I am very pleased with this task, as this is my wish fulfilled continue to live in the country and work in which I grew up. Even as a child, which is in Kaiserslautern near the airfield Ramstein grew up, I dreamed of becoming a pilot. I then had to fly very fortunate during my 27-year pilot career in the US Air Force several aircraft, including great aircraft from Lockheed Martin as the F-16 and the C-130th After uses in Ramstein, Stuttgart, Rome and Brussels and several missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, I finished my Air Force career as Air Attaché at the US Embassy in Berlin. This valuable experience as a pilot, diplomat and professional soldier allow me now different perspectives in the discussion of defense issues with the German policy to take the military and our industry partners, and to set up a strategic and solution-oriented view of the challenges of our customers.

As Country Director of Lockheed Martin it's my job to work seamlessly with the German customers to the armed forces in the performance to support national and collective security tasks. I see my role therefore as an interface between companies and customers. Against the background of my professional and personal German-American career I want to contribute to a mutually beneficial relations of cooperation.

ES & T: What references did LMCO in the army, and what are your current priority programs and perspectives?

Walford: Lockheed Martin / Sikorsky supports the Bundeswehr for nearly 50 years with the CH-53G helicopter fleet. Today we are proud to contribute the French-German with our C-130J for the joint air transport squadron in Evreux and offer next to the CH-53K King stallion for Germany's heavy helicopter (STH) and next to the Tactical Air Defense System (TLVS) for Germany's air defense system solutions to.

Under the leadership of Rheinmetall participate Autoflug, Collins Aerospace, HENSOLDT, HYDRO Systems, MTU Aero Engines, Rohde & Schwarz, Vincorion and ZFL the German CH-53K team (Graphic: Archive ES & T)

Our focus is currently so on STH and TLVS, both subject are working closely with the German industry. This provides significant work share and technology transfer in this country, but also expresses the understanding of our company of transatlantic cooperation from.

ES & T: STH is one of four flagship projects that have been identified by the German MoD determines the capacity development of the Bundeswehr. The offers for STH had to be issued in January. How do you assess the position of LMCO / Sikorsky in this competition?

Walford: We are proud to participate in the STH-competition and have the BAAINBw passed in January 2020, together with our German industrial team available as a basis for a so-called best and final Offer.

The STH project will be the basis for the replacement of the current CH-53G fleet and selectively expand the capabilities of the German air force in all areas: tactical airlift of troops and cargo, ambulance transport, rescue operations, search and rescue, special operations, military evacuation operations and missions in support of operations by naval units.

See you in a good position because the CH-53K facing life-cycle costs and mission requirements and capabilities provides significantly better long-term value compared with other transport helicopters. The avionics and the digitized flight control system provide nursery potential for integration of further systems for decades and payload capacity can be increased significantly with relatively simple modifications. An integrated sensing and diagnostic system reduces maintenance requirements and costs, while the availability of the entire fleet increases.

The January 13, 2020 was the deadline for offers under the project Heavy transport helicopters of the Bundeswehr. In the event of a successful application Sikorsky and Rheinmetall want at the airport Leipzig / Halle a logistics center as well as a fleet support center for the CH-53K set (photo: USMC)

ES & T: What is the state of the CH-53K program for the US Marine Corps (USMC), and there is progress towards a commitment of Israel?

Walford: The US Marine Corps is planning the so-called initial operating capability of the CH-53K unit for 2023/24. All activities in the field of series production, training, logistics, test and evaluation are currently achieve on course to this milestone. For reference, the project program of the USMC currently 200 heavy CH-53K aircraft is designed and is the current CH-53E fleet completely replace.

Last October, delegations of Israeli and German Air Force for CH-53K-flight test / demonstration in the United States. The Israeli Air Force wants to replace its fleet of older CH-53 helicopters in the near future.

ES & T: Your STH team includes many "good name" of the German defense industry. What percentage of work units may expect the German industry when the CH-53K will win the race? Will there be transfer of technology?

Walford: Our more than ten German industrial partners have outstanding technological expertise and have proven themselves in numerous projects with the Bundeswehr. Together with our main partner Rheinmetall we plan on success at Leipzig a logistics center for the entire set STH fleet. In addition, auto flight cabin interiors and HYDRO the necessary ground support equipment ready, while the MTU is already involved directly on the T408 engine program for the USMC and STH fleet will build on this role in.

Much of the maintenance, repair and logistics of the helicopter would take place in Germany. This alone could rise to numerous high-tech jobs. Similar to the CH-53G program in the 1970s, our German industry colleagues will be able to expand this technology transfer for decades to come. As a modern platform, the CH-53K offers with its growth potential, the ideal basis for the further integration of specific German technology and mission equipment.

ES & T: Are there other programs under which you have sub-contracted to the German industry? How would you describe your relationship with the German industry and the German industry as a partner LMCO new market prospects can expect for themselves?

Walford: We look constantly for ways of cooperation with German industry - both inside and outside the German market. I would say that we are there on the right track. We are working on numerous projects outside the German market with German industry together. So Rohde & Schwarz, for example, our preferred supplier in wireless system solutions our latest F-16 Block 70 variant, and as already mentioned, the MTU is making the T408 engine program of the CH-53K US Marine Corps already an indispensable contribution.

ES & T: TLVS is another landmark project in which your joint bid with MBDA on the previous MEADS development program is based. What will be the most important advances / changes when TLVS with the last compares MEADS development?

When projects TLVS Lockheed Martin works with MBDA Germany as a partner in the consortium TLVS GmbH (Photo: TLVS GmbH)

Walford: As an integrated air and missile defense system that is mobile, provides a full 360-degree capability and is based on an open, network-centric architecture, only TLVS is designed for current and future threats.

The open network architecture of TLVS system allows interoperability with coalition forces, regional NATO allies and the involvement of local radars, launchers and future defense systems of other countries. This unique capability serves as forces multiplier by increasing the collective capabilities of NATO air and missile defense.

ES & T: What does the Bundeswehr export markets LMCO compared to other export customers?

Walford: Given the relevance of Germany within NATO as the framework nation and its leading role in Europe of the Bundeswehr is of particular importance. Germany plans to modernize and expand the capabilities of its armed forces and we are committed to our long tradition of supporting the security needs of the country. This of course includes the continuation and deepening our partnerships with the German aerospace and defense industry.

The interview was Jurgen Hensel.