Lockheed Martin Corp. reported that its 2021 total deliveries for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter was 142 aircraft, three more than its revised target for the year. The three additional aircraft will be counted toward the 2022 delivery target.
Originally, the schedule called for Lockheed to deliver 169 F-35 jets in 2021, but last September the OEM agreed with the U.S. Dept. of Defense to “rebaseline” the schedule at 133-139 aircraft, in order to achieve “predictability and stability in the production process while recovering the aircraft shortfall realized over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
For 2022, Lockheed will deliver 151-153 aircraft, and in 2023 and then for the foreseeable future it will deliver 156 aircraft annually.
The F-35, the largest U.S. defense program, is a series of three single-engine aircraft designed to be deployed for ground attack and combat. Lockheed is the lead contractor for the program, which also includes Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems, and hundreds more manufacturers.
More than 750 of the aircraft have been deployed to-date by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy, and by defense forces in United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, and Australia – all F-35 program partners, and several more countries that have been approved as operators through the Dept. of Defense's Foreign Military Sales program, including Japan, South Korea, and Israel.
Also during 2021, Finland and Switzerland selected the F-35 for their respective air forces’ new fighter jet programs with orders for 64 (Finland) and 35 (Switzerland) F-35As.