Lockheed Martin has received $20.1 million in long-lead funding to start building the first two Israeli F-35A Joint Strike Fighters.
"This is for long-lead funding for the two Israeli planes in LRIP [low rate initial production] 8," Lockheed says. "We received long-lead funding for the first 35 jets at the end of February, then Japan happened at the end of March."
The eighth F-35 initial production lot consists of 45 jets in total. Of those, 29 are for the US military services including 19 F-35As for the US Air Force, six F-35Bs short take-off vertical landing jets for the US Marine Corps and four F-35C carrier variant machines for the US Navy. The remaining 16 fighters are international orders including four F-35B aircraft for Britain, four F-35As for Japan, four F-35As for Italy, two F-35As for Norway and the aforementioned pair of Israeli aircraft.
The Italian aircraft are still awaiting for funds to be released. "Negotiations continue on the four Italian planes," Lockheed says.