Lockheed Martin Corp., has drawn a new $2.4 billion award from the U.S. Dept. of Defense to supply spare-parts packages of various types to the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force, as well as foreign defense forces, for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
The contract (technically, a contract modification) will cover spare-parts orders through December 2020. The payments will be made upon delivery of the specific orders.
The F-35 is 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. More than 420 of the aircraft have been built and deployed since 2006, with Lockheed the lead contractor among several hundred suppliers.
While the F-35 program has been widely scrutinized for its construction costs, maintenance, repair, and operating costs also have been a concern for the U.S. Dept. of Defense and the relevant service branches. In 2018 the Pentagon briefly stopped accepting most deliveries of new F-35 aircraft due to maintenance costs on more than 200 jets already in service with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy.