Lockheed Martin has received an $847 million order to provide long-lead components and services to produce 105 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the US Air Force, Navy, Marines, and allied nations.
The F-35 combat jets will replace the country’s fleet of F-16, A-10, F/A-18, and AV-8B tactical fighters and attack aircraft.
A report by Military Aerospace explained that long-lead items for the F-35 fighters are difficult and time-consuming to obtain, so an advance order such as this is necessary to keep aircraft production on schedule.
Most work for the contract will be performed in Texas, while some services will be provided at production facilities in California, the UK, Italy, and Japan.
Last month, the US awarded a $49 million contract to Lockheed Martin to design and produce a new F-35 stealth jet variant for an allied nation. Although the name of the US ally was not disclosed, Defense World reported that all F-35 customers receive the standard variants except for Israel.
‘Most Advanced Combat Jet’
The F-35 is a fifth-generation, multi-role fighter aircraft capable of ground attack, aerial reconnaissance, and air defense missions. With its advanced avionics and advanced capabilities, it is regarded as one of the most superior combat jets in the world.
The single-seat plane is equipped with a Pratt & Whitney F135 after-burning turbofan engine that produces as much as 43,100 pounds of thrust. It has a maximum speed of Mach 1.6 and a range of up to 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers).
The F-35 carries one 25-millimeter Gatling gun and advanced air-to-ground missiles, air-to-air missiles, smart bombs, and conventional bombs.
Pilots also wear a helmet-mounted display that allows them to look at a target to fire their weapons instead of pointing the entire plane at the target.
“We really haven’t seen any sort of diminishing interest,” Lockheed official Bridget Lauderdale told reporters in June.
“As the jet performs — and frankly as, for example, our European partners are able to operate together and see the power and the strength of the capabilities on the platform and particularly as they are interoperating in their missions — we are seeing a stronger conviction around what this means to the security of their individual nations and to the effectiveness of the alliances.”