The Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin [LMT] a $4.7 billion contract modification to build 78 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters over the next three years.

The contract award, announced March 31, includes 48 F-35A aircraft for the Air Force, 14 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps and 16 F-35Cs for the Navy. The funding is split up between the Air Force, which is providing over $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2020 procurement dollars, and the Navy, providing nearly $2 billion. Work is expected to be completed by March 2023, according to the contract notice.

Lockheed Martin on Tuesday was also awarded a $202.8 million cost-plus-incentive fee, undefinitized contract to continue to develop, sustain and produce software builds as well as carryout developmental flight tests in support of the F-35. Work will be performed at primarily at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and Patuxent River, Maryland. Some additional work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and Orlando, Florida.

“This contract action also provides unique sea trials on aircraft carriers for non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants,” the notice said. Work is expected to be complete by September 2020.

The Defense Department’s fiscal year 2021 presidential budget request, released Feb. 10, included funding for 79 F-35s – 48 Air Force F-35A variants, 10 Marine Corps F-35Bs and 21 Navy F-35Cs. That’s 19 fewer Joint Strike Fighters than Congress appropriated for in the FY ’20 defense spending bill.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill wrote a letter to the Pentagon in March, making the case to add 12 F-35As, two F-35Bs and five F-35Cs to that request (Defense Daily, March 20).