The US Department of Defense is awarding Lockheed Martin a $489.5 million contract to provide long lead-time items required for the seventh F-35 low-rate initial production lot.
Lot VII production for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter will consist of 35 aircraft according to a DOD release. That includes parts for 19 conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft for the US Air Force, six short take-off/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft for the US Marine Corps, and four carrier variant aircraft for the US Navy.
Also included in the contract are parts for three F-35As for Italy and two more CTOLs for Turkey. These are also provisions for one STOVL jet for the UK.
The contract also provides for long lead-time efforts needed for the incorporation of a drag chute into the F-35A model for Norway.
"This long-lead funding will help ensure that the F-35 program continues to meet production schedules outlined by the programme," Lockheed says. "This is an important milestone in paving the way for the acquisition of these aircraft, and a major step forward in bringing the F-35's [fifth] generation fighter capabilities to the men and women of our armed services and international partners."