It’s another big year for Lockheed Martin as they amass a whopping $7.6 billion contract to produce 129 F-35s for the US military.

According to Lockheed Martin’s press release, the contract will cover:

  • 49 F-35A aircraft for the Airforce
  • 3 F-25B and 10 F-35C for the Marine Corps
  • 15 F-35C for the Navy
  • 32 F-35A and 4 F-35B for non-US Department of Defense (DoD)
  • 16 F-35A for Foreign Military Sales customers
  • 16 shipsets of technical hardware

Last July, the DoD approved another contract for $30 billion to build about 375 F-35 stealth fighter jets in the course of three years.

“We are pleased to announce that the Department and Lockheed Martin reached a handshake agreement for the next F-35 lot buy on a basis of 375 aircraft,” said William LaPlante, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.

This contract was hard-won since the purchasing process was stalled by legalese on data rights, but DoD and Lockheed Martin finally came into an agreement in Washington.

Lockheed claimed that because of the pandemic and ongoing inflation, they could not lower the prices for the F-35s. Their initial forecasted production for the $30 billion budget was 485 jets but drastically had a 22% decrease in volume because of the overall cost required to build one jet.

The Curious Timing

The multi-billion dollar funding of F-35s has been questionable to some, especially since these aircraft have been reported (here in SOFREP as well)to have malfunctioning seat ejection features that affected military operations, not only in the US but for other countries who use F-35s in their activities.

The reported case halted operations on July 28. Lockheed Martin also provided support during the inspection. However, it’s not reported whether DoD will bill Lockheed Martin for the repairs and administrative support.