November 19, 2010 (by John R. Kent) - Lockheed Martin has received a $3.5 billion contract modification from the U.S. Department of Defense to manufacture 31 F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters in the fourth lot of low-rate initial production (LRIP).
AF-01 and AF-02 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters are photographed as they head to Edwards AFB in these publicity shots taken on May 17th, 2010. [Lockheed Martin photo by Tom Reynolds]
The contract also funds manufacturing-support equipment, flight test instrumentation and ancillary mission equipment. Including the long-lead funding previously received, the total contract value for LRIP
4 is $3.9 billion.
Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will produce 10 F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL
) variants for the U.S. Air Force, 16 F-35B short take-off/vertical landing variants for the U.S. Marine Corps, four F-35C carrier variants for the U.S. Navy and one F-35B for the United Kingdom. Additionally, the Netherlands
has the option to procure one F-35A.
"We are focused on getting 5th generation fighter capability into the hands of U.S. and allied pilots as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible," said Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager.
The LRIP 4 order is in addition to 31 F-35s contracted under LRIPs 1-3, three of which already have exited Lockheed Martin’s mile-long factory in Fort Worth. Nineteen test aircraft also have rolled out. The U.S. and eight nations partnering in the project plan to acquire more than 3,100 F-35 fighters, and Israel
recently announced plans to purchase the jet.
The F-35 program has about 900 suppliers in 45 states, and directly and indirectly employs more than 127,000 people. Thousands more are employed in the F-35 partner countries, which have invested more than $4 billion in the project. Those countries are the United Kingdom, Italy
, the Netherlands, Turkey
, Canada, Australia, Denmark
The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation stealth fighter. Three F-35 variants are in production, each derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE