Lockheed Awarded $2.3 Billion in Various F-35 Contracts at Year’s End

Lockheed Martin nabbed up to $2.3 billion in contract awards for the F-35 program prior to the end of 2019. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The Pentagon awarded Lockheed Martin five contracts worth a cumulative $2.3 billion at the end of 2019 for various work related to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, to include logistics services for delivered aircraft, long-lead materials and upgraded software capabilities.

The contracts, awarded between Dec. 27-30, totaled $2.347 billion, per a Dec. 31 Defense Department contract round-up.

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), which is the contracting activity for the F-35, provided $1.9 billion for recurring logistics services to take place over the next calendar year for delivered F-35s in the U.S. military, as well as for aircraft operated by international partners and foreign military sales (FMS) customers.

NAVAIR also awarded nearly $99 million to begin integration of the Next-Generation Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS) into all F-35 variants over the next two years. Raytheon is providing the new system – which uses six external infrared sensors to provide missile and aircraft detection and tracking as well as imagery for cockpit displays, night vision and the pilot’s head-mounted displays – beginning with Lot 15.

Northrop Grumman is the legacy provider, having developed the current AN/AAQ-37 DAS, but declined to compete for the follow on program in 2018. Work on the new DAS will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in July 2022.

Lockheed Martin also received over $172 million to acquire long-lead materials, parts components and effort for 28 Lot 15 F-35s, with work expected to be completed by December 2023. Nearly $82 million was awarded to procure hardware and software elements for the forthcoming Block 4 capability upgrade. The Block 4 upgrades, to take place over this next decade, will include new information technology capabilities, particularly the “Tech Refresh 3” package with an updated integrated core processor and a panoramic cockpit display that are scheduled to be included in Lot 15, officials have previously said. An open-architecture backbone is also expected to be integrated into the F-35 as part of the Block 4 capabilities.

The company also received a $68 million contract modification, which provides product process verification on F-35 production operation cards to identify and correct potential process issues and implement and validate corrective actions in support of the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in June 2024.

Lockheed delivered 134 F-35 aircraft in 2019, a 47 percent increase over 2018 deliveries, the company said Dec. 30. That included 81 F-35s for the United States, 30 for international partner nations and 23 for FMS customers. Over 490 F-35s are currently operating at 21 bases worldwide.

The goal is to deliver 141 Joint Strike Fighters in 2020 and Lockheed Martin “is prepared to increase production volume year-over-year to hit peak production in 2023.” The unit price of an F-35A was brought down to $77.9 million in 2019, the company added.

This article was originally published in Defense Daily, a sister publication to Avionics. To view the full version, click here>>

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