The U.S. Dept. of Defense issued a modification contract worth $206.8 million to Lockheed Martin Corp. to cover “execution planning and technical data packages in support of modifications to the F-35 developmental test fleet aircraft.”
The new contract will cover flight tests for the F-35 developmental test fleet and for the capabilities being developed for incorporation to versions of the aircraft now in service or still to be delivered. It is described as an “undefinitized modification” to a previous, “cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee order” under a previous contract.
The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting body
The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is 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.
The aircraft – which is the largest U.S. defense program – has been in development for over two decades, and the first F-35 entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 2015. To date, over 700 F-35s have been delivered and are operating from 21 bases worldwide by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and more than a dozen allied defense forces.
In September, Lockheed and the Dept. of Defense agreed to “rebaseline” the aircraft’s production schedule to achieve “predictability and stability in the production process while recovering the aircraft shortfall realized over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Under the new terms, Lockheed and the F-35 supplier network it leads will deliver 133-139 aircraft this year, rather than 169 as previously agreed.