Lockheed Martin has received a new $1.05bn contract to advance the production and delivery of F-35 fighter jets for the US military forces.

This developmentwas confirmed by the US Department of Defense (DoD) in a contract announcement on 23 December.  

According to the DoD, the contract has been awarded to procure long-lead-time materials, required equipment, spare parts, components to further advance and maintain the on-time production and delivery target for 118 Lot 18 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets.

The Lot 18 aircraft will be used by the US Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps as well as other foreign military sales customers and non-US DoD F-35 operators.

Work under this un-definitised advanced acquisition contract will be performed majorly in Fort Worth, Texas, while other locations will also support some associated activities.

Other sites include El Segundo, California; Warton, UK; Orlando, Florida; Cameri, Italy; Baltimore, Maryland; Nashua, New Hampshire; San Diego, California; Nagoya, Japan and some places outside the continental US.

The company is expected to complete the work by January 2024.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River is managing this contract.

In another development, Pratt & Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies’ company, has received additional $75m in fundings for its F135 Engine Core Upgrade (ECU) programme for the F-35 aircraft.

The funds have been provided under Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill and represents congressional contribution for the US DoD’s F135 engine modernisation effort.

The company claimed that ECU is the only F-35 propulsion modernisation alternative for all F-35 variants.

Pratt & Whitney F135 programmes vice president Jen Latka said: “Thanks to the support we have received from Congress, with leadership from Chairwoman DeLauro, upgraded engine will be ready for fielding starting in 2028.”