Lockheed Martin / Chris Hanoch
F-35 production line at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Tex.
F-35 production line at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Tex.
F-35 production line at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Tex.
F-35 production line at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Tex.
F-35 production line at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Tex.

Lockheed Awarded $7.8 Billion for Next Round of F-35s

April 30, 2023
The Pentagon approved the start of production for Lot 17 of the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, which will include 126 aircraft of all variants, for the USAF, USMC, USN, and foreign defense forces.

Lockheed Martin has drawn a $7.8-billion contract from the U.S. Dept. of Defense for 126 more F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. The order – expected to be completed in August 2026 – represents the DoD exercising its option for Lot 17 under the recent agreement on costs for the next three rounds of production for the F-35 series.

The agreement announced late in 2022 is worth more than $30 billion.

Lockheed is the lead contractor for the F-35, a single-engine, Stealth-enabled aircraft deployed 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.

All models of the F-35 are being updated a new version of the Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofan engine, anticipating a more advanced aircraft design that will enhance the fighter jets’ lethality, with electronic hardware and software updates as part of an adoption of dozens of new weapons systems.

Lot 17 is planned to include 81 F-35A aircraft (43 for the U.S. Air Force, 38 for various foreign services); 26 F-35Bs (15 for the U.S. Marine Corps, 11 for foreign defense forces); and 19 F-35C aircraft (13 for the U.S. Navy, six for the USMC.)

The foreign defense forces listed by the DoD to receive aircraft under Lot 17 include Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

The DoD announcement noted that more than half the work on Lot 17 will be performed at Lockheed Martin Aerospace in Fort Worth, Tex., and other sites in the U.S., the U.K., Italy, and Japan.

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