Lorraine Martin, who oversaw steady improvement in Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program as executive vice president and general manager, is being promoted to help the aerospace giant with its acquisition of the Sikorsky helicopter business.
Martin, who has worked on the F-35 program for four years, will serve in a newly-created job as deputy executive vice president for Mission Systems and Training, the division that is set to absorb Sikorsky, which Lockheed agreed to buy in July for $9 billion.
Martin will be replaced in Fort Worth by Jeff Babione, who has been serving as Deputy General Manager on the F-35 program. He will lead the development, production and sustainment efforts across the fighter jet’s three variants.
Babione will oversee the anticipated ramping up of production at the Lockheed plant west of Fort Worth as well as achieving initial operational capability, or “combat ready” status, for the jet by the United States Air Force in 2016 and the Navy in 2018.
For the past three years Jeff Babione has served as Lorraine’s deputy. He has the skills and leadership necessary to continue the advancements we’re making in the F-35 program.
Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 program executive officer
“He brings a deep understanding of the F-35 program, strong customer relationships and a collaborative leadership style that will ensure we continue the positive momentum of the program,” said Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
Martin stepped into a leadership role with the F-35, the nation’s most expensive weapons system, after it had been rocked by cost overruns and technical failures. At one time, the F-35 ran so far over budget and fell so far behind schedule that the Pentagon put the program on probation in 2010.
Eventually, two years were added to the program, along with $4.5 billion more for development. Since the probation was lifted in 2012, performance has improved and the F-35 program has won praise from its customers.
Earlier this month, Martin said the program has been able to “meet all of our milestones,” including the fighter being declared combat ready by the Marines, while also bringing down the costs.
Martin’s new job will include a significant increase in responsibility, the company said. Currently the Systems and Training division is a $7.2 billion business with more than 18,000 employees. But it will double in revenue and workforce once the Sikorsky acquisition is completed, Lockheed officials said.
“I congratulate Lorraine on her new position. Since 2013 we worked together on the F-35 program to deliver a world-class weapons system to the warfighter and improve government and contractor relations,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the F-35 program executive officer.
Martin will be based in Washington, D.C. supporting Executive Vice President Dale Bennett with the transition of Sikorsky and portions of other Lockheed business units to the division. She will start in her new job Jan. 1.
Babione has been with Lockheed for 23 years, the last two with the F-35 program.
Lockheed is buying Sikorsky from United Technologies Corp., which has owned the iconic company for about 90 years and built it into the largest maker of military helicopters.
Besides making the legendary Black Hawk and the H-92 twin-engine troop transport aircraft, Sikorsky makes Marine One, which transport presidents.