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F35-water-landing-800.jpg US Dept of Defense
The F-35 Lightning II is a Stealth-enabled, single-engine 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).

Lockheed Contracted for F-35 Controls Update

$712.5-million award to modernize flight communications, sensors, electronic warfare, guidance and control, and cockpit and helmet displays.

The U.S. Dept. of Defense contracted Lockheed Martin Corp. to develop the F-35 Lightning II Technology Refresh 3 (TR3) System, a project that will update the flight-control systems aboard the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft series. The $712.5-million contract will be carried out by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Tex., and is planned to be completed in March 2023.

Lockheed Martin is the lead contractor for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program, a series of three, Stealth-enabled single-engine aircraft designed for ground attack and combat, and deployed by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps, and the defense forces of multiple allied nations. While program has been under steady scrutiny and criticism for the high cost of individual aircraft, and Lockheed and other contractors have made steady efforts to contain the costs for future deliveries.

The primary goal of the TR3 update is to implement a network interface for the aircraft’s flight-control programs, so that it can be modified as necessary. Last year, Lockheed selected Harris Corp. to modify the F-35’s integrated core processor, which manages data for communications, sensors, electronic warfare, guidance and control, cockpit, and helmet displays.

DoD said the new contract will support flightworthiness certification, production readiness review, and fleet release of the system for use in Lot 15 fighter jets.

The new contract covers FY 2018 and 2019 R&D, testing, and evaluation (for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps), and non-U.S. Dept. of Defense program participant funding.

Earlier this month, Lockheed drew an amended contract from Defense to supply 225 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets, a $22.7-billion award that initiates preliminary purchasing for Lot 12 of the program.

Earlier this month, Lockheed drew an amended contract from Defense to supply 225 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets, a $22.7-billion award that initiates preliminary purchasing for Lot 12 of the program. In addition, Lockheed was cleared to start work on Lot 13 and Lot 14 aircraft destined for the program’s international partner countries and foreign military sales customers.

Also this month, Lockheed announced it had met its production target for the F-35 stealth fighter jet, 91 aircraft, and increased deliveries this year 40% over 2017. Lockheed expects another 40% jump in F-35 deliveries to 130 aircraft in 2019.

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