The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded a contract worth $1.17bn to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to obtain the necessary parts and materials for the production of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF).
Under the terms of the advance acquisition contract, Lockheed will buy long lead time materials, parts, and components for the planned production of the 11th batch of F-35 aircraft.
The contract will ensure the advance procurement of materials for a total of 80 F-35A aircraft that includes 28 for the US Air Force (USAF), six each for Norway and Japan, four for Turkey, eight each for the Dutch and Australian governments, ten for Israel and South Korea.
The contract will also cover the production of seven F-35B aircraft including six for the US Marine Corps and one for the UK and four F-35C aircraft for the US Navy.
Additionally, it includes an indefinite contract action for the production of two F-35A aircraft for the USAF and F-35C aircraft for the US Navy.
Work under this project will be performed at facilities in the US, UK and Japan, and is scheduled to be completed in December 2019.
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Currently under development in three versions, the F-35 JSF is a fifth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft designed to conduct an array of ground attack, reconnaissance and air defence missions with stealth capability.
The aircraft is expected to achieve full operational capability with the USAF by 2021 or 2022.
Image: An F-35A Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron. Photo: courtesy of MSgt John Nimmo Sr.