The US DoD has awarded a US$6bn (A$8.2bn) contract amendment to Lockheed Martin for long-lead items and preliminary funding for an expected combined order for 255 F-35 Lightning IIs under low rate production lots (LRIP) 12, 13 and 14.
The 255 jets are comprised of 64 F-35As for the USAF, 26 F-35Bs for the USMC and 16 F-35Cs for the USN in LRIP 12, 89 F-35As and F-35Bs for international partner nations in LRIP 12, 13 and 14 (including 45 F-35As to be delivered to Australia in 2020, 2021 and 2022), 60 F-35As for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers in LRIPs 12, 13, 14, and long lead parts for lot 14.
“This contracting funding strategy provides stability and a steady production rate over a defined period of time which enables industry to plan and make investments that reduce overall cost and achieve greater manufacturing efficiencies,” a JSP Program Office (JPO) statement reads.
A Lockheed Martin statement added, “This Undefintized Contract Action will provide critical funds to ensure F-35 production and cost reduction efforts remain on schedule as we partner with the F-35 Joint Program Office to finalize the formal contract agreement.
“The acquisition approach for Lots 12-14 will deliver significant cost savings and is critical to achieving our joint goal of an (US)$80 million F-35A for aircraft ordered in 2020. This is a smart approach for the taxpayer, the warfighter and for industry.”