Lockheed Martin
An F-35B, short take-off and vertical-landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, was the record-setting 134th jet of the series delivered in 2019.

Lockheed Beats Goal, Delivered 134 F-35s in 2019

Dec. 31, 2019
Joint Strike Fighter program increased production by 47% in the past year, and by 200% since 2016

Lockheed Martin delivered a total of 134 F-35 aircraft during 2019, exceeding the goal of 131 jets jointly agreed for the program by the U.S. Dept. of Defense and its industrial partners. "This achievement is a testament to the readiness of the full F-35 enterprise to ramp to full-rate production and we continue to focus on improving on-time deliveries across the entire weapons system," stated Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin vice president and F-35 program general manager.

The F-35 is also known as the Joint Strike Fighter — a single-engine, Stealth-enabled aircraft designed for deployment for ground attack and combat, and available in three variants: F-35A, for conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL); F-35B, for short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL); and the F-35C carrier-based variant for Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) variant.

According to Lockheed, the 134th jet delivered for 2019 was a STOVL model for the U.S. Marine Corps. Overall for 2019, deliveries included 81 F-35s for the United States, 30 for international partner nations, and 23 for foreign military sales customers.

Lockheed is the F-35's primary contractor, along with Pratt & Whitney supplying the F-135 engine and BAE Systems providing the electronic warfare systems. The program has produced 435 aircraft since 2006, and is currently in its fourth-generation design and eleventh round of production.

But, the program has been plagued by high unit-production costs, too.  In October, Lockheed and the DoD reached a $34-billion agreement for a total of 478 JSF jets through the next three production series, reducing the unit cost to $77.9 million currently, below the $80-million target.

Of the program's 2019 performance, Lockheed noted that 134 deliveries represent a 47% increase from 2018 and nearly a 200% production increase from 2016.

Ulmer added: "We have met our annual delivery targets three years in a row and continue to increase production rates, improve efficiencies, and reduce costs."

For 2020, Lockheed reported it plans to deliver 141 F-35s, and is prepared to increase production volume year-over-year until it hits the scheduled peak-production rate in 2023.

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