WASHINGTON, June 15 Lockheed Martin Corp
has won a U.S contract worth $490 million to start buying parts,
material and components for a seventh batch of 35 F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter planes, the Pentagon announced on Friday.
Lockheed, the Pentagon's largest supplier, welcomed the
agreement and said it would help ensure that the $396 billion
F-35 program, which has been restructured three times in recent
years, continued to meet its production schedules.
"This is an important milestone in paving the way for the
acquisition of these aircraft," said Lockheed spokeswoman Laurie
News of the order came as Lockheed continued to hire
temporary workers to maintain F-35 production at its plant in
Fort Worth, Texas, where 3,300 members of the International
Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have been on
strike for eight weeks over pension and healthcare benefits.
The U.S. Department of Defense said the order would include
19 conventional takeoff and landing or "A" models for the U.S.
Air Force; three F-35A models for the government of Italy; two
F-35As for Turkey; six short takeoff, vertical landing or F-35B
aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps; one F-35B for Britain, and
four carrier variant aircraft for the Navy.
In addition, this contract provides long lead-time efforts
required for the incorporation of a drag chute in conventional
takeoff air systems for the government of Norway.
Lockheed remains locked in difficult negotiations with the
Pentagon to finalize the details of a fifth order of 32 low-rate
Earlier Friday, Norway placed its first firm order for two
F-35 aircraft and said it expects to order another 50 planes for
a total procurement cost of $10 billion, the country's largest
ever public purchase.
Norway, which has stood firmly by the program and its order,
will receive its first four aircraft by 2016. The remaining 48
would be delivered after 2017.
Norway said it would also begin preparations for the final
phase of Joint Strike Missile development after it received U.S.
support for the integration of the missile into the F-35.
Lockheed is developing three variants of the F-35 for the
U.S. military and eight partner countries, including Britain,
Canada, Australia, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway and the
The U.S. military plans to buy 2,443 aircraft while the
program's international partners plan to buy 697.