Greetings from Phoenix, Arizona, minions...
In my long absence from our nation's capital, much has happened (or not). Lockheed Martin has been awarded two additional F-35 contracts.
The contracts are respectively $68.3 million and $45.9 million modifications to the previously awarded Low Rate Initial Production II and III contracts for changes to the F-35's configuration. These changes could include modifications to the baseline hardware or software resulting from F-35 developmental test flight efforts.
According to a Pentagon release, these modifications define "the contractor's responsibility to incorporate government-authorized changes for the U.S. Air Force conventional take-off and landing and the U.S. Marine Corps short take-off vertical landing aircraft and provides funding for such efforts."
In the meantime, Lockheed has released another photo of an F-35 at Edwards refueling from a KC-10 while carrying external stores. They were testing the jet's handling in that configuration.