Lockheed Martin Aeronautics | Chris Hanoch
F-35 assembly at Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth, Tex.

Lockheed Awarded $79M for F-35 Parts

May 17, 2024
A contract to procure “diminishing manufacturing sources” parts for production and sustainment of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets comes as the program prepares to execute the Block 4 upgrade.

Lockheed Martin has drawn a $79-million Pentagon contract to procure “diminishing manufacturing sources” parts for production and sustainment of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft by U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, and allied defense forces operating the fighter jets.

The availability of critical parts may become decisive for fulfilling outstanding aircraft orders or maintaining aircraft currently in service as the Lockheed-led F-35 program redirects its objectives during the planned transition to the Block 4 upgrade to the jets.

The F-35 is a series of fighter jets deployed for ground attack and combat, and available in three variants, for the USAF, USMC, and USN, and defense forces of more than a dozen other nations. It is by far the largest and most expensive U.S. defense program, with hundreds of program participants and suppliers.

Program leader Lockheed is regularly subjected to criticism for program cost overruns and the readiness of aircraft for service.

More than 1,000 F-35s have been produced since the launch of the program in 2006. Currently, Lockheed is implementing a “Technology Refresh” (TR-3) to update the jets’ computer hardware and software capabilities in advance of an extensive (Block 4) upgrade to the aircraft propulsion systems and weaponry, which is planned to be underway for future production series of the F-35.

The full scope and schedule of the Block 4 upgrade has not been determined, pending completion of the overdue a “Technology Refresh” (TR-3) update to the jets’ computer hardware and software capabilities that are necessary to support the planned improvements to aircraft propulsion systems and weaponry.

Reportedly, TR-3 will not be completed until 2025.

The completion of TR-3 is overdue, and reportedly now it will not be completed until 2025.

The new contract covers acquisitions to be completed in December 2024.

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