Lockheed Martin will supply ten F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variants for the US Air Force under a $3.5bn contract from the US Department of Defense, which also includes the manufacture of 31 F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters.

The US-based security and information technology company will also produce 16 F-35B short take-off and vertical landing variants for the US Marine Corps in the fourth lot of low-rate initial production (LRIP).

The company will also manufacture four F-35C carrier variants for the US Navy and one F-35B for the UK.

The contract will also fund manufacturing-support equipment, flight test instrumentation and ancillary mission equipment.

A supersonic, multirole, fifth-generation stealth fighter, the F-35 is developed by Lockheed and its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.