Lockheed Martin won a contract worth $1.17 billion to buy titanium and other materials to manufacture the 11th batch of F-35 fighter jets, the Pentagon said Monday. The Pentagon also announced that the company has met its 2015 goal of delivering 45 F-35 jets to the U.S. government and allies — a 25 percent increase from last year, bringing the number of jets delivered to 154.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based company is reportedly on its way to mark a milestone for its $391 billion F-35 project, the Pentagon’s largest arms program. The company is preparing for more production and is expected to soon receive most associated performance fees, Reuters reported, citing the Pentagon.
Lockheed Martin is also in talks with the Pentagon over a separate deal worth $15 billion for two batches of F-35 fighter jets, the agreement for which was expected by the end of 2015.
"Meeting aircraft production goals is a critical stepping stone in demonstrating the program is ready for the expected significant production ramp up," Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, who manages the F-35 program for the Pentagon said, according to Reuters.
Under the $1.17 billion deal, most of the work for the planes would be done at the Fort Worth plant. Lockheed was scheduled to manufacture jets for the US Air Force, while six will be given to Norway, four to Turkey, eight were for the Netherlands and another eight were for Australia. Israel was set to receive 10 jets, six were set to be given to Japan, while 10 would be sent to South Korea, the statement from Pentagon said, according to Sputnik News.
Lockheed Martin is also building the three models of the F-35 jets for the U.K. and Italy. The suppliers are Northrop Grumman Corp and BAE Systems Plc, while a separate agreement to build engines has been signed by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, according to Reuters.
The delivered jetsinclude 26 F-35 A-model jets for the U.S. Air Force, taking the total fleet of the model to 75. Other deliveries include two F-35A jets for Norway and one for Italy, Reuters reported.
The company also delivered eight F-35 B-model jets, which can land vertically, to the U.S. Marine Corps; four F-35 C-model jets, which can take-off from aircraft carriers, to the Marines; and four F-35C jets to the U.S. Navy
During the year, the company delivered its first F-35 jet from Italy’s final assembly to the Italian military, during the year. The Italian plant is managed by Finmeccanica SpA and will develop most of the 90 jets that are expected to be ordered by Japan along with the 37 jets that are to be ordered by the Netherlands.