The Lockheed Martin has been awarded a USD3.7 billion contract modification by the US Department of Defense (DoD) for a further 50 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft to be built under low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 11.
The contract, which was awarded on 28 July, is in addition to the USD5.6 billion that was announced on 7 July to help finance construction of the 11th batch of 74 F-35 jets for the U.S. military.
This latest contract covers non-US customers and is made up of one F-35B aircraft for the United Kingdom; one F-35A aircraft for Italy; eight F-35A aircraft for Australia; eight F-35A aircraft for the Netherlands; four F-35A aircraft for Turkey; six F-35A aircraft for Norway; and 22 F-35A aircraft for non-partner nation Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers.
The contract also includes equipment and additional maintenance services for the foreign customers, as well as the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy.
The work will primarily be conducted in Ft. Worth, Texas, and also at other national and international locations including Britain, Italy and Japan. The contract is expected to be completed by December 2020 with $2.2 billion in funds already obligated.
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather, fifth-generation stealth multirole fighters designed and developed by Lockheed Martin to perform ground attack and air defense missions.
It has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier-based Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) variant.
The three distinct variants will replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 Hornet for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for 11 other countries.
On 31 July 2015, the United States Marines declared ready for deployment the first squadron of F-35B fighters after intensive testing. On 2 August 2016, the U.S. Air Force declared its first squadron of F-35A fighters combat-ready. The Initial Operational Capability (IOC) declaration of Navy fighters are expected in 2019.