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U.S. Awards 7B USD to Lockheed Martin for 127 F-35s Despite Groundings

At approximately 1718 EST, the United States Department of Defense announced a 7.8B USD contract award to Lockheed Martin for the delivery of (127) Lot 16 aircraft, which will include (89) F-35A, (23) F-35B, and (15) F-35C. The contract reads below:

“Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is awarded a $7,842,191,056 fixed-price incentive (firm-target), firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee modification (P00019) to a previously awarded contract (N0001920C0009). This modification adds scope to procure 127 F-35 Lot 16 aircraft, to include 89 F-35A aircraft, 23 F-35B aircraft, and 15 F-35C, as well as definitizes a modification (P00016) in support of F-35 Lot 15 aircraft procurements and associated auxiliary equipment in support of the Joint Strike Fighter program for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) participants, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed Fort Worth, Texas (57%); El Segundo, California (14%); Warton, United Kingdom (9%); Cameri, Italy (4%); Orlando, Florida (4%); Nashua, New Hampshire (3%); Baltimore, Maryland (3%); San Diego, California (2%); Nagoya, Japan (2%); and various locations outside the continental U.S. (2%), and is expected to be completed in August 2026.”

However, as this publication reported on December 15th, 2022, an F-35B crash at a test runway in Fort Worth, Texas has already delayed the aircraft delivery timeline for 2022. Lockheed Martin only delivered 141/148 due to the company halting aircraft acceptance until an investigation is concluded.

The US F-35 Joint Program Office grounded a small number of F-35s after the incident, all with less than 40 flight hours out of an abundance of caution. They also commented that the December 15th crash was due to a propulsion issue.

It is worth noting that this new contract is for Lot 16 aircraft, which along with Lot 15, holds several ready-to-deliver F-35s to the program office. Rumors were swirling earlier this week that this contract would be up to 30B USD and include options for aircraft from Lots 15, 16, and 17. However, as stated above, the much more conservative contract is only for the Lot 16 aircraft. It is unclear if the retracted scope fo the contract is due to the mishap and ongoing investigation.

Tessaron
Tessaron
United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

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