Lockheed Martin hits F-35 delivery target

A file image of F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters A35-001 (closest) and A35-002. (Defence)
A file image of F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters A35-001 (closest) and A35-002. (Defence)

Lockheed Martin says it has delivered the 66th F-35 Lightning II aircraft for 2017, thereby meeting its delivery target for this year.

To date, more than 265 of the fighters have been delivered to US and international customers, the company stated, and the F-35 fleet had surpassed 115,000 cumulative flight hours.

Deliveries in 2017 increased by more than 40 per cent compared with 2016, and production volume was expected to reach about 160 aircraft in 2023.

“Meeting our 2017 delivery commitment is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our joint government and industry team to deliver the transformational F-35 air system to the warfighter,” said Lockheed Martin executive vice-president and F-35 program general manager Jeff Babione.

“The team continues to overcome program challenges, and achieving this milestone gives our customers confidence that the F-35 enterprise can deliver on the increasing production quantities year over year.”

Australia’s third F-35A is due to be delivered to Luke Air Force Base in early 2018.

Comments

  1. Josh James says

    Well done Lockheed Martin. I hope you continue to prove that with time comes maturity, and turn your staunchest critics into your most valued customers.

  2. John N says

    Sixty Six delivered for this year, not bad. More than 265 F-35 in total delivered to date, not bad either.

    Next year (LRIP 10, 2018 delivery), is approx. 90 airframes (about a 50% increase in production), including eight for the RAAF.

    Lot 11, 2019 delivery, will be approx. 141 airframes (another eight for the RAAF).

    Then the ‘big ones’, price will be negotiated on the three lots together rather than single year lots.

    LRIP’s 12, 13 and 14 (2020, 2021 and 2022), the planned production run is 147, 156 and 154 per lot, that’s more than 450 airframes (45 airframes, 10% of production, is for the RAAF from theses three production lots).

    By the end of 2022, LM will have delivered more than 850 airframes (including 63 for the RAAF).

    By the time the last nine RAAF airframes are delivered, end of 2023, total F-35 production will be around 1000 airframes delivered.

    Again, not bad!!

    Cheers,

    John N

  3. John N says

    Paul, will you do me a favour?

    If my comments bother you so much, just ignore them ok?

    Pretend you haven’t read them, ok?

    Enough.

  4. says

    John N, it’s pretty hard to ignore them when you have said this one thousand times. I have read some of your posts on DT which doesn’t make you a professional! And one thing that offends me is you write on DT that you like going on AA to rev people up! So if you want to rev people up, you have to take it as well! You always like to correct everyone and if they don’t agree with you, they are in your fireling line. No offence ok!

  5. says

    John, I have worked with the most respected and influential people in defence. I am not saying I’m better than anyone or I know more than you, but do everyone on here a favour and respect their opinions. I know you get all your information on google ( which is pretty sad by the way) and I have grown up on AA who do a fantastic job with their publications and articles. If you would like to go out for a coffee we could really talk serious if you want. AA , keep up the good work. Cheers.

  6. Derrick says

    Good to see the F-35 is going from strength to strength.

    On another note, has anyone have a read that both Japan and South Korea are looking to refit their existing helicopter carriers to carry the F-35….
    https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2017/12/26/japan-south-korea-may-refit-naval-ships-for-f-35-fighters/

    It will be interesting to see if they go ahead with it, and IF this will have a flow on effect to Australia retrofitting the LHD to carry the F-35 down the track.

  7. says

    Derrick, I wouldn’t think that this would happen because 1, the infrastructure involved with the 35B would be tremendously expensive to just have 1 sqn of them. 2 the white paper is keen to have only the A model within the RAAFS inventory. You never know tho! Just my opinion tho.

  8. John N says

    Hi Derrick,

    Yes saw the DefenseNews article early this morning, certainly an interesting development, but of course both Japan and SK are a lot closer to the action than we are, so it’s not totally surprising that they are possibly looking at the F-35B as an option to add to their respective fleets of F-35A.

    And lets not also forget that Singapore has been looking at procuring F-35 for a while too. Reportedly their interest is in the F-35B too, (not so much for ship operations, but to operate from roadways if airfields are disabled).

    Will Australia revisit the option of F-35B for the LHD’s?

    An interesting question, something that may be answered by a future Government and/or if the strategic situation in our region continues to deteriorate to a point where a decision has to be made sooner than later.

    But for the moment I suspect that Navy (and ADF generally), will be busy focusing on the LHD’s primary amphibious role and ensuring that the main reason for procuring those ships is achieved.

    It may well be that at some point in the future (when the LHD’s go in for their first major refit/mid-life upgrade), that they could potentially be upgraded to operate F-35B’s effectively, but at a significant dollar cost too.

    It may also be that we don’t actually own F-35B’s, but the ships could be available for cross decking in a future coalition operation by our friends in the region (USMC, Japan, SK and Singapore), with their respective fleets of F-35B.

    Anyway, interesting question, one that I don’t think will be answered anytime soon.

    Cheers,

    John N

  9. Fabian says

    Hi Derrick
    I have to say that would be great…. but unfortunately the LHDs are mainly used for amphibious operations and other operations such as disaster relief. Even though they do have a ski jump ramp it would be really costly to retrofit them with the f-35b. We keep them for amphibious operations because we need them. If we want to have a LHD/aircraft carrier we should purchase one more and fit it with the equipment from the start which is still costly but cheaper than purchasing another one and then retrofitting it after. An aircraft carrier will greatly enhance our defence force and our force projection.

    Cheers
    Fabian

  10. says

    John N, with this cross decking with our friends I wouldn’t think that would happen. Singapore, USN, SK, and Japan have significant space and naval platforms to share and operate. This would come at a cost to us so why? Secondly they would have to put teams on our ships just in case something unfortunate happened. Will we get the 35B ? no we won’t.

  11. John N says

    Paul, I’m not, and haven’t, suggested for one minute that the Australian Government is about to go out and purchase F-35B’s just because our friends in our region are potentially planning to do so.

    But with the strategic situation in our area of interest changing at a rapid pace, who knows what the future might hold, I don’t, do you??

    As it stands today, the Government canned the idea of upgrading the LHD’s to operate F-35B’s (they will continue to operate in their primary role as helicopter capable amphibious ships), but again who knows what might happen over the 30+ year service life of the LHD’s.

    We might get to a point in the future (three, four, etc, changes of Government), where the question of operating combat aircraft off the LHD’s is revisited, and again who knows what the future might hold??

    There is nothing stopping a future Government to include, even the most basic of upgrades (eg, the appropriate heat proof deck coating), to the LHD’s during a future major refit to allow for operations of our friends F-35B’s in a future coalition operation (and yes there will be a cost involved in upgrading the ships for that potential future purpose).

    Cross decking could range from full operations (unlikely), to acting as a lily pad to allow for refuel, rearm or an alternate deck to land on in a coalition operation if the situation warranted it.

    As things stand today, all of the above is highly unlikely to happen, but again, who knows what the future holds in our rapidly changing region of interest.

  12. says

    John N, I never said that you said we were getting the 35B. My point was the point you suggested that our LHDS would be used for cross decking with our friends.. I never said what the future might hold because my name is not Nostradamus. Singapore has not purchased the B model so I don’t know what your on about. The question is will WE purchase the B model, very unlikely because of cost and introducing a new complex STOLVL model that we have had no experience in. Because we are getting rid of the Rhinos in 2030 or there abouts it would make perfect sense to just go with the A model. I’m not a crystal ball person and have never said I know everything ( quite a little really compared with the people in the know ) but I would think this will be the right way forward.

  13. says

    John N, does anyone know how long it would take to heat proof our decks? How much would it cost? This talk of us acquiring the b model is stupid talk really. Yes we know the the security situation is changing, but putting our LHDS in for an upgrade to act as you say as a lilypad is incorrect. If the situation deteriorated at a very quick pace, do you really think we would have the time to sail it back, and get an upgrade just in case a b model needed somewhere to land in an emergency? Very very unlikely!