Lockheed Martin Corp. has an amended contract from the U.S. Dept. of Defense to proceed with Lot 12 of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program, a $22.7-billion award for 255 aircraft that modifies an earlier “fixed-price-incentive-firm-target, firm-fixed-price advanced acquisition contract”. It’s the first Pentagon order placed since it settled a new cost-structure for the program with Lockheed, in October.
In addition to initiating purchasing and planning for Lot 12, the contract will allow Lockheed to work on Lot 13 and Lot 14 aircraft destined for the program’s international partner countries and foreign military sales customers.
Lockheed will produce and deliver 106 F-35 aircraft for the U.S. services (64 F-35A jets for the U.S. Air Force; 26 F-35Bs for the U.S. Marine Corps; and 16 F-35Cs for the U.S. Navy. The other aircraft in the order are 131 F-35As and 18 F-35Bs for non-DoD program participants and Foreign Military Sales customers.
The F-35 is a series of three, Stealth-enabled single-engine aircraft designed for ground attack and combat, and deployed by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps, and the defense forces of multiple allied nations. The program has been under steady scrutiny and criticism for the high cost of individual aircraft, and Lockheed and other contractors have made steady efforts to contain the costs for future deliveries.
While the original schedule would have seen Lot 12 initiated sooner, this award follows the October cost-structure agreement between Lockheed and DoD.
The Pentagon stated that work covered by this contract will be performed in Fort Worth, Tex., El Segundo, Calif., (14%); Orlando, Fla.; Nashua, N.H., Baltimore, Md. (3%); and San Diego, Calif.; and at sites in Italy, Nagoya, and the U.K.
Lot 12 is expected to be completed in March 2023.