F-35 Funds Released

DOD has awarded Lockheed Martin $2.2 billion for the purchase of the 12 F-35 stealth fighter aircraft that will be built during the program’s second production lot. This includes six F-35A stealth fighters for the Air Force and the provisional buy of six F-35B short-takeoff variants for the Marine Corps, prime contractor Lockheed Martin announced May 22. John Smith, the company F-35 spokesman, told the Daily Report May 23 that the new deal “has been definitized and signed.” It is actually a modification of the existing F-35 advanced acquisition contract, he noted. Per a decision by Pentagon acquisition czar John Young in March, construction of the six F-35Bs may only proceed after the first successful flight of this variant. Lockheed Martin anticipates the first flight in the late spring or early summer. On May 14, DOD also released $197 million in long-lead funds for lot 3 production, which will entail at least 18 additional F-35s, including the first intended for international partners.