Lockheed Martin signs deals to produce nearly 400 F-35 Lightning II fighters

Aircraft are part of Lots 15, 16 and 17 and include the first F-35s for Finland, Belgium and Poland

A 5th gen fighter that became a star in military aviation, the F-35 Lightning II secured Lockheed Martin contracts for the production of 398 aircraft.

The new package involves the production of Lots 15, 16 and 17 and is budgeted at around $ 30 billion. Among Lockheed’s customers are the United States and international partners of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program such as Belgium, Finland and Poland.

According to the manufacturer, 145 aircraft will be produced for Lot 15, 127 for Lot 16 and up to 126 for Lot 17, which includes the first F-35s for the Belgian, Finnish and Polish air forces.

The F-35s in these batches feature Technical Refresh-3 (TR-3), an updated hardware with a new integrated core processor with increased computing power, a panoramic cockpit display, and an improved memory unit.

Lockheed Martin F-35A (Armasuisse)

“Continuing to add new countries to our global F-35 fleet further validates the capability and affordability of this aircraft in providing 21st Century Security to nations and allies,” said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, F-35 Program. “There is simply no other aircraft that can do all that the F-35 does to defeat and deter even the most advanced threats.”

In 2022, Lockheed Martin entered into new agreements with Germany, Finland and Switzerland, bringing the total number of stealth fighter customers to 17 nations.

The new fighters will join a fleet of 894 aircraft, 141 of which were delivered this year.

F-35B crash at landing at Lockheed Martin plant

The F-35 has become an unbeatable option in international competitions due to its technological update compared to 4.5 generation fighters such as the Dassault Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Saab Gripen NG.

In addition to its stealth capability, Lightining II has stood out for having a lower operating cost and, above all, a modular architecture, which allows for quick updates.

The aircraft’s career, however, has not been easy. Problems with accidents and in its production have put its virtues in check. In 2022, some fighters ended up being lost in unlikely situations, as happened last week with an F-35B in tests at Lockheed Martin itself.

Another embarrassing situation involved the use of materials provided by China, a country that today has a strained relationship with Washington.


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