The U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, conducts a test flight on Feb. 11, 2011 over the Chesapeake Bay.
U.S. Navy photo courtesy Lockheed Martin via Getty Images
By Reuters
November 24, 2016

Lockheed Martin (lmt) subsidiary Lockheed Martin Aeronautics 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 finalized.

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.

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“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 allies.

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