January 9, 2023 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have finalized the contract for the production and delivery of up to 398 F-35s for $30 billion, including U.S., international partners and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) aircraft in Lots 15 and 16, with the option for Lot 17.
IDFAF F-35A #957 performs a touch and go at NAS Fort Worth in August of 2022. [Photo by David Thompson]
The agreement includes 145 aircraft for Lot 15, 127 for Lot 16, and up to 126 for the Lot 17 contract option, including the first F-35 aircraft for Belgium
, Finland and Poland
Lot 15-17 aircraft will be the first to include Technical Refresh-3 (TR-3), the modernized hardware needed to power Block 4 capabilities. TR-3 includes a new integrated core processor with greater computing power, a panoramic cockpit display and an enhanced memory unit.
These aircraft will add to the growing global fleet, currently at 894 aircraft after 141 deliveries this year. The F-35 team was on track to meet the commitment of 148 aircraft as planned; however, due to a temporary pause in flight operations, which is still in effect, necessary acceptance flight tests could not be performed.
The finalized contract caps off a year of the F-35 delivering combat-proven airpower around the world and continued international growth. This year, Finland, Germany and Switzerland signed Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOAs) as an important step in their procurement of F-35 aircraft.
F-35 program participants currently include 17 countries. To date, more than 1,870 pilots and 13,500 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 602,000 cumulative flight hours.