A USAF F-35A from Hill AFB, Utah, performs for a crowd of nearly 100,000 people at Le Bourget Airport, France, during the Paris Air Show, June 23, 2017. Air Force photo by TSgt. Ryan Crane.
Lockheed Martin on Friday received a $5.58 billion contract modification for the next low-rate initial production lot of 74 F-35s, the Pentagon announced.
This contract modification covers 48 F-35A variants for USAF, along with 18 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, and eight F-35Cs for the Navy, with work expected to be completed in December 2020. Lockheed receives $4.5 billion at the time of the award, the announcement states.
The “undefinitized contract action” covers initial production costs, but the final cost of the whole lot of aircraft is still in negotiation. The final LRIP 11 contract is expected by the end of the year, and will ultimately include 141 F-35s for US and partner nations.
The F-35 Joint Program Office, in a statement released when the contract was posted, said it is confident the final, negotiated price per aircraft will be less than Lot 10. That contract, which was announced in February, had a $94.6 million price per F-35A.
“With complex production lines and supply chain dynamics, it was important to obligate funds via an undefinitized contract action to continue building LRIP Lot 11 aircraft prior to a final agreement on price,” F-35 program office spokesman Joe DellaVedova said in a statement.
Later this month, the Pentagon will also announce a similar contract modification of $2.2 billion for 50 F-35s for partner nations and foreign military sales.
The Lot 11 contract is the last before the Pentagon is expected to award a “block buy” contract for a large-scale purchase of the jets.