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​Jeff Babione, shown here, will assume the role of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program manager from Lorraine Martin, the company announced on Oct. 29, 2015. Lockheed Martin photo.

​Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program manager since 2013, Lorraine Martin, is shifting to a newly created job, and will be succeeded by Jeff Babione, who has been her deputy since 2013, the company announced Thursday. Martin will be deputy executive vice president for Mission Systems and Training, where she’ll help integrate Lockheed’s acquisition of Sikorsky helicopters, company spokesman Mike Rein said. Babione has been with Lockheed for 23 years, having come from the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group, where he was responsible “for all aspects of the development, manufacturing and sustainment” of those two aircraft. Rein said the move is part of “natural succession planning” at the company. Babione will oversee the completion of the system development and demonstration effort, the sharp increase in F-35 production coming in the next two years, and initial operational capability for the Air Force. Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the Pentagon’s JSF program executive officer, congratulated Martin in a statement released by the program office. “Since 2013, we worked together … to deliver a world-class weapon system,” Bogdan said, and “improve government and contractor relations.”  Babione, Bogdan said, “has the skills and leadership necessary to continue the advancements we’re making in the F-35 program. Our team looks forward to work with Jeff and his new deputy, Fred Ross, in their new roles.” Ross, like Martin, has experience with the C-130 program and comes directly from being vice president of supply chain management.