Lockheed Martin has been awarded a US$3.5 billion contract for the fourth Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP 4) batch of 31 F-35 JSF aircraft.
Under the contract, the company will manufacture 10 F-35As for the USAF, 16 F-35Bs for the US Marine Corps, four F-35Cs for the US Navy and, despite that country recently changing its planned JSF buy to the F-35C, one F-35B for the UK. Also covered in the award is manufacturing-support equipment, flight test instrumentation and ancillary mission equipment.
The LRIP 4 contract has been under negotiation for some months, culminating in the Pentagon requesting Lockheed Martin agree to a fixed price contract instead of the traditional ‘cost plus’ contracts common in development programs.
To date, 19 test F-35s and three LRIP 3 F-35s have rolled off the Lockheed Martin line in Fort Worth, of which about eight have flown.