The US Navy and Air Force have ordered 16 more F-35 joint fighter jets from Lockheed Martin at a total cost of more than $ 1 billion, the Department of Defense said.
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“Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company [of] Fort Worth, Texas is awarded a $ 1,099,631,252 modification contract… ”the Department of Defense said in a press release on Friday. “This modification exercises options for the production and delivery of 16, Lot 15 F-35 Lightning IIs: 10 for the Air Force and six for the Marine Corps.”
The Department of Defense said work on the contract will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (57%); El Segundo, California (14%); Warton, UK (9%); Cameri, Italy (4%) and other locations and is expected to be completed in May 2026.
In July, Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Brown described the F-35 jet as the cornerstone of the US fighter fleet for the foreseeable future. However, critics continue to claim that the Air Force and Lockheed Martin failed to fix the aircraft with more than 860 remaining technical issues.
Development of the F-35 began in 2001, and the weapon system turned out to be the most expensive in US history. The F-35 program has been delayed by more than eight years and is $ 165 billion more than initial planned costs, according to the Government Accountability Office.
Recently, the F-35 made headlines when an MQ-25 drone first refueled a Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. “The US Navy and Boeing first used the MQ-25TM T1 to refuel a US Navy F-35C Lightning II fighter, once again demonstrating the aircraft’s ability to accomplish its primary mission of refueling, “Boeing said in a press release.
This was the third refueling mission of Boeing-owned test assets in just over three months, advancing the test program of the Navy’s first operational unmanned aircraft based on a aircraft carrier.
“Each test flight with a different type / model / series aircraft brings us one step closer to the rapid delivery of a fully mission-capable MQ-25 to the fleet. Stingray’s unmatched refueling capability will increase the Navy’s power projection and provide operational flexibility to carrier strike group commanders. Captain Chad Reed, director of the US Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program, said in the statement.
During a test flight on September 13, an F-35C test pilot successfully conducted a wake survey behind the MQ-25TM T1 to ensure performance and stability before contacting the refueling anchor from T1 and receive fuel, the statement said.