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  • Writer's pictureDeVal Lifecycle Support

DeVal Lifecycle Support Celebrates F-35 Day with F-35 JPO SES Edgar Apollo and Captain Fahner

Last week, DeVal Lifecycle Support hosted our F-35 Day, a celebration of our support of the F-35 Lightning II. The event, complete with a Proclamation from the City of Philadelphia, was held to recognize the global support equipment work that DeVal has completed in support of the F-35. We were thrilled to host strategic partners, suppliers, educators, and Captain Fahner and Mr. Edgar Apollo of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Office.

The F-35 “Lightning II” Joint Strike Fighter is the most survivable and connected fighter aircraft in the world. Conceived as part of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program in 1996, The F-35 is a revolutionary multirole fighter jet aimed to replace a range of existing aircraft, including the F-16, F/A-18, and the AV-8B Harrier. The first F-35 prototype took to the skies in 2006, and since its first introduction into service in July 2015 the F-35 has become a centerpiece of the air power of countries around the world. It is known for its advanced stealth capabilities, top-tier avionics, sensor fusion, and versatility across different mission types and environments.

Our F-35 Pretzel Logo was a great success! Thanks Philadelphia Pretzel Company

With an impressive record of 920 aircraft delivered and nearing 500,000 flight hours, the F-35 program has established itself as a global force. It boasts the involvement of the US Air Force, Navy and Marines, alongside seven partner nations and eight Foreign Military Sales (FMS) countries. The support extends even further, with nations like the Czech Republic and Thailand expressing interest, presenting a strong case for expanding the fleet.

Manufacturing the MHU 191 for the F-35 Program

The advanced F-35 Lightning II fighter jet is available in three variants tailored to meet specific operational requirements. The F-35A is used by the United States Air Force and international partners for conventional takeoff and landing, while the F-35B, capable of short takeoff and vertical landing, is employed by the United States Marine Corps and international partners. The United States Navy operates the F-35C, optimized for carrier-based operations. With this diverse range of variants, the F-35 program provides a versatile solution for different military branches to execute various mission profiles effectively.

DeVal Lifecycle Support, a Philadelphia SBA-certified HUBZone firm, is proud to manufacture an extensive array of aviation, armament, and ground support equipment for the F-35. Products, such as the Munitions Trailers, High Lift Adapters, Munitions Platforms and Loaders, provide the F-35 fleet with reliable equipment required to hold, transport and load munitions for the aircraft.

To celebrate our resolve in supporting the F-35 program, the warfighter, and the U.S. taxpayer, DeVal hosted F-35 day. F-35 day was created to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the DeVal team to provide quality support equipment for the program helping to keep our world safe. Our team’s dedication to building quality into the manufacturing process has directly affected our success in delivering equipment on time to assure mission readiness. As part of the celebration, we invited strategic partners and key stakeholders in the F-35 program, as well as our suppliers and education partners, to share in camaraderie of supporting freedom and safety worldwide and the role they play in supporting the defense industrial base.

Tim Walsh from Alro Steel, Jason Davison from Compucraft Fabricators Inc, Steve Dungan from Hillock Anodizing with DeVal's Director of Supply Chain Dan Elitz

Suppliers from Alro Steel, Compucraft Fabricators, and Hillock Anodizing attended and were honored during the opening ceremony. Their invaluable contributions in providing high-quality materials, precision craftsmanship, and specialized metal finishing solutions have significantly bolstered our support of the F-35 program. Together, we have formed a strong alliance, reinforcing the supply chain and the defense industrial base to ensure the continued excellence of the F-35. We were thrilled to share a moment of gratitude, recognizing the partnerships and commitment to excellence demonstrated by our respected suppliers and manufacturing partners.

Joe Williams of Father Judge High School catches up with former students at F-35 Day

Recognizing our strong partnerships with educational institutions, we were joined by Joe Williams, a respected welding instructor and founding member of Father Judge High School's welding program, to join us for F-35 Day. Joe's exceptional expertise and dedication have greatly influenced the program, making him an invaluable mentor for students. Many of our employees have graduated from Father Judge's welding program, and Joe actively maintains connections with them, visiting their workplaces to assess their preparedness for successful careers.

We were delighted to showcase our manufacturing facility to Captain Fahner, Director of Supply Chain Management Integrations for the F-35 JPO, and Mr. Edgar Apollo, Product Support Manager for the F-35 JPO. As the PSM since May 2021, Mr. Apollo constructs and executes the Global Support Solution (GSS) across the F-35 Enterprise to provide superior performance, reliability, and sustainability. In this role, Mr. Apollo frequently engages critical stakeholders on F-35 sustainment at Senior Executive levels within the Department of Defense (DoD), Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, as well as international and industry partners.

Mr. Apollo addressed the DeVal team, sharing how hard work and valuing our greatest asset – people – are driving success throughout the F-35 program. During his talk, Mr. Apollo highlighted three key imperatives. The first imperative is the "War on Cost," which focuses on reducing costs in development, production, and sustainment. This includes efforts to find innovative ways to lower expenses for spares, support equipment, and flightline operations. The second imperative is the "War on Readiness", addressing top drivers affecting mission capability, non-mission capable supply and maintenance, and logistics. The third imperative is "Wartime Readiness," emphasizing the need for strategic planning and collaboration between the military and commercial industries to support surges in times of tension and conflict.

Captain Fahner and Mr. Apollo with members of DeVal Team

Mr. Apollo acknowledged the importance of a robust military industrial base and commercial industrial base signal, particularly in terms of supply chain resilience. He expressed the need for a strategic shift away from offshore sourcing and highlighted the value of a dependable domestic supply chain. He also emphasized the long-term perspective of the F-35 program, with its projected 30-year production timeline and expected operations extending to 2087. Lastly, he commended our people as the most critical resource in the facility, appreciating DeVal leadership's recognition of their importance.

Thank you to Captain Fahner, Mr. Apollo, Tim Walsh, Jason Davison, Steve Dungan, and Joe Williams for your partnership and support of the F-35 program!


About DeVal Lifecycle Support:

DeVal Lifecycle Support, a Parts Life, Inc. Company, is a full service build to print mechanical manufacturer of armament and ground support equipment, sub-assemblies, and major parts and components for military systems and sub-systems for over 60 years. As a small business certified HUBZone contractor for the Department of Defense, DeVal LCS is a full-service original equipment manufacturer with extensive high precision machining capabilities used to support our prime and government customers. Products include munitions trailers adapters & add-ons, drawbars, cargo loaders, weapon transport adapters, bomb hoist, dollies, self-propelled weapons loaders, testing and tool sets, and more. DeVal operates under regimented performance guidelines constituted by ISO9001:2015 and AS9100D Certified Quality Management Systems Programs.

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