WASHINGTON Nov 24 Lockheed Martin Corp
subsidiary Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co has received an
interim payment of $1.28 billion for its 10th contract for F-35
fighter jets, the Pentagon said.
It said in a statement the payment was to ensure there would
be no major production delays while the final terms of the
contract for 90 F-35 Lightning II jets up to a maximum of $7.19
billion were being finalised.
The award is a modification to a previous Low Rate Initial
Production (LRIP) contract and comes after negotiations on the
ninth contract for F-35 jets concluded.
The U.S. Department of Defense will continue to negotiate
the specifics of LRIP 10 to finalize the contract, a spokesman
for the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) said.
This order includes 76 F-35A aircraft for the U.S. Air
Force, Non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants and
foreign military sales customers; 12 F-35B aircraft for the U.S.
Marine Corps and non-U.S. DoD Participants and two F-35C
aircraft for the U.S. Navy.
"Once a final agreement on LRIP 10 is reached, the balance
of the funding is provided. We appreciate the actions taken by
the JPO to ensure delivery of F-35s," a spokesman for Lockheed
Martin Aeronautics said.
The F-35 is the Pentagon's costliest arms program. The U.S.
Defense Department expects to spend $391 billion to develop the
plane and buy 2,443 of the supersonic, stealthy new warplanes,
in the coming decades.
Lockheed, and its main partners including Northrop Grumman
, Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems, have
been developing and building F-35s for the U.S. military and 10
(Reporting by Eric Walsh and Mike Stone in Washington,
Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; editing by David Clarke)