Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office have finalized a contract for production and delivery of up to 398 F-35s in a deal worth $30 billion, including U.S., international partners and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) aircraft in Lots 15 and 16, with the option for Lot 17.
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.
According to Lockheed Martin, 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.
The aircraft adds to a growing global fleet, currently at 894 aircraft after 141 deliveries in 2022. According to Lockheed Martin, the F-35 team was on track to meet the commitment of 148 aircraft, however, due to a temporary pause in flight operations, acceptance flight tests could not be performed. The F-35 has continued international growth with Finland, Germany, and Switzerland signing Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOAs), believed to be an important step in procurement of F-35 aircraft.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt, program executive officer, F-35 Joint Program Office, said: “The F-35 delivers unsurpassed capability to our warfighters and operational commanders. This contract strikes the right balance between what’s best for the U.S. taxpayers, military services, allies and our foreign military sales customers. The F-35 is the world’s premier multi-mission, 5th-generation weapon system, and the modernized Block 4 capabilities these new aircraft will bring to bear strengthens not just capability, but interoperability with our allies and partners across land, sea, air and cyber domains.”
Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, F-35 Program, added: “Continuing to add new countries to our global F-35 fleet further validates the capability and affordability of this aircraft in providing 21st Century Security to nations and allies. There is simply no other aircraft that can do all that the F-35 does to defeat and deter even the most advanced threats.”