The US Department of Defense has awarded a Lockheed Martin a $743 million contract linked to the ninth batch of F-35 fighters, as negotiations on a final production contract for Lots 9 and 10 continue.

The contract sets not-to-exceed prices for up to $385 million on a range of services for the US military’s F-35 customers, including redesign and development of components with diminishing manufacturing and material services. The funds also pays for post-production concurrency changes on the 57 aircraft ordered in Lot 9.

Another $333 million is being allotted to set not-to-exceed prices for one F-35A and one F-35B on behalf of a non-US participant in the programme. The contract award notice on 17 October does not identify the participant, but only Italy has ordered both F-35As and F-35Bs in Lot 9.

Another $25.4 million of the award comes from the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme to pay for “country unique requirements”. Israel, Japan and South Korea account for the F-35 programme’s three FMS customers so far. Of those three, only Israel and Japan have requested aircraft under the Lot 9 production contract.

The programme’s original schedule called for awarding the final production contract for Lots 9 and 10 and a total of 140 aircraft a year ago, but negotiations have dragged on for months.