Lockheed Martin received a $311.4 million contract for the F-35 program’s Block 3F upgrade—the planned all-up configuration—which will be performed on Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and British variants of the Joint Strike Fighter, according to a Sept. 1 contract announcement. The “undefinitized delivery order,” made against another ordering agreement for the four customers, is to purchase “retrofit modification hardware” needed for Block 3F upgrades, and engineering support for kit installations at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility and at a facility in Baltimore, Md. Naval Air Systems Command at NAS Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting authority. Work on the modifications is expected to last until September 2021. The contract is a combination purchase for the four customers, with the largest portions going to USAF (approximately $142.7 million of the contract) and the Marine Corps (approximately $86.2 million). Earlier this year, a senior USAF official noted some capabilities planned for the Block 3F full configuration of the fighter will move to the Block 4 update, which will be fielded between 2019 and 2025. The Marine Corps declared initial operational capability for its F-35B variant in early August with the 2B software configuration, which provides initial combat capability. The Air Force will declare IOC with the 3i software in 2016, which provides the same capabilities as the Marine Corps’ Block 2B, but includes an upgraded processor and the “gen 3” helmet, F-35 Executive Vice President Lorraine Martin said in June.
Unlike nearly every other innovative technology throughout history, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt believes the space enterprise emerged backward. “Every other domain started with an entrepreneur who built something,” Burt, the special assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, told an audience at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.