The U.S. Dept. of Defense approved $1.15 billion for Lockheed Martin Corp. in a new round of funding for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program – in the amount of $1.15 billion – to Lockheed Martin Corp. The award is a “cost-plus-incentive-fee, fixed-price-incentive-fee” modification to an earlier contract with Lockheed, and all the financing will be supplied on individual orders as they are issued.
The F-35 is a single-engine aircraft built by Lockheed and used for ground attack and combat missions by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, and more than a dozen allied defense forces. While nearly 1,000 of the aircraft have been built to date, production rates are due to rise as more of the aircraft are deployed.
One year ago Lockheed and the DoD reached a $30-billion, multi-year agreement for nearly 400 F-35 aircraft, covering three rounds production for the most expensive and expansive defense manufacturing program.
The new funding covers the costs for site activation (including training) and hardware requirements for F-35 aircraft sustainment and maintenance for all program participants. The Pentagon is expanding the network of F-35 service and repair depots even as it implements an across-the-board upgrade of the F-35 weapons systems that will require extensive updates to the current F-35 fleet.
The so-called Technical Refresh-3 (TR-3) changes will revamp the weapons systems hardware, including a more powerful integrated core processor, a panoramic cockpit display, and an enhanced memory unit, all of which anticipate the future Block 4 modifications to the aircraft munitions packages, which will introduce dozens of new, advanced weapons systems.
Work under this funding package is expected to be completed in 2028.