Lockheed Martin won a $4.7 billion contract modification
for the procurement of 78 F-35
combat aircraft (48 F-35A combat aircraft for the Air Force, 14 F-35B combat aircraft for the Marine Corps, 16 F-35C fighter aircraft for the Navy) and associated aircraft red gear. The contract was awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD. The majority of the work related to the deal will be carried out in Fort Worth, TX. The F-35 is a fifth-generation single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole jet fighter-bomber designed to perform ground attack, aerial reconnaissance, and air defense missions. It is one of the most advanced combat jets in the world. The order involves 48 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) jet aircraft for the US Air Force for operation from conventional long runways; 14 F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) jet aircraft for the US Marine Corps for operation from small ships and unimproved runways; and 16 F-35C reinforced aircraft with folding wings for the US Navy for aircraft carrier operations. Work will take place in Texas, California, the UK, Florida, New Hampshire and Maryland. Estimated completion will be by March 2023.
The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing for the US Marines, British Royal Navy, et. al.; and the F-35C conventional carrier-launched version for the US Navy. The aircraft is named after Lockheed’s famous WW2 P-38 Lightning, and the Mach 2, stacked-engine English Electric (now BAE) Lightning jet. Lightning II system development partners included The USA & Britain (Tier 1), Italy and the Netherlands (Tier 2), and Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey (Tier 3), with Singapore and Israel as “Security Cooperation Partners,” and Japan as the 1st export customer.
The big question for Lockheed Martin is whether, and when, many of these partner countries will begin placing purchase orders. This updated article has expanded to feature more detail regarding the F-35 program, including contracts, sub-contracts, and notable events and reports during 2012-2013.