As negotiations over low-rate initial production lots 9 and 10 for the Lockheed Martin F-35 continue, the Pentagon will fork over another payment under an existing undefinitised contractual action to ensure Lockheed continues work on the jets.

The upcoming award for LRIP lot 10 would fall under the $5.37 billion undefinitised contractual action (UCA) awarded last year, which supports production of 55 jets, including 34 for the US and 21 for international customers. In August, the Pentagon granted Lockheed about $1 billion to mitigate Lockheed’s costs of lot 9 production.

But negotiations have gone on for so long that the DOD has put the Lot 10 UCA in place, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, Frank Kendall, told reporters 7 August. The F-35 Joint Program Office is working with Lockheed to issue a UCA for LRIP 10.

“The amount and not-to-exceed value are being negotiated as we work to achieve a mutual agreement on the terms and conditions,” Dellavedova says. “Once a final agreement on LRIP 10 is reached, the balance of the funding is provided. The JPO wants to ensure the production of lot 10 aircraft while we continue to negotiate a fair deal for the F-35 enterprise and industry.”

When asked whether Lockheed was waiting out the Defense Department, Kendall said he would not speculate. He added the reason for the drawn out negotiations were obvious.

“We’re trying to get the best deal we can for the government,” he says. “We think we can do better and it’s about what cost reductions can reasonably be achieved and how that risk is handled in the negotiation.”