Lockheed Martin has won a $22.7 billion contract to supply 255 F-35 Lightning II fighters for the three branches of the US armed services and international operators.
The contract covers 106 F-35s for the USA, comprising 64 F-35As for the air force, 26 F-35Bs for the marines, and 16 F-35Cs for the navy, a US Department of Defense contract announcement states.
In addition, 71 F-35As and 18 F-35Bs will go to international programme participants, and 60 F-35As to customers under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process.
Lockheed receives an initial installment of $6 billion upon signing.
The announcement states that the US aircraft will come from production lot 12. It does not state the production lot for the F-35s destined for the international participants and FMS buyers.
A rough calculation pegs the average cost per aircraft at $89 million. The deal covers F-35 production into 2023.
The work will be undertaken at several locations, with the lion’s share (57%) at Fort Worth, Texas.
The award follows drawn-out negotiations between the Department of Defense and Lockheed to lower the aircraft’s price. In September, the two parties signed a landmark deal that lowered the price of F-35As procured in low rate initial production (LRIP) lot 11 to $89.2 million, dropping below $90 million for the first time, and 5.4% better than the previous production lot.
The September deal saw the unit prices of the short-take-off vertical-landing (STOVL) F-35B drop 5.7% to $116 million, and the carrier capable F-35C’s 11.1% to $108 million.
Deliveries under the September agreement commence in 2019.
In addition, Lockheed also won a $382 million contract to produce eight MH-60R anti-submarine warfare helicopters for the US navy.