The Defense Department accepted its 36th F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on Monday, completing the production goal for the year and demonstrating prime contractor Lockheed Martin’s [LMT] ability to ramp up production.
The jet’s delivery brings the program to 109 total operation aircraft in the U.S. and partner nations. It was also the first F-35C carrier variant delivered to the Marine Corps.
“Meeting U.S. and international aircraft delivery goals is a stepping stone,” Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 program executive officer, said in the same statement. “It’s a global undertaking to build and deliver F-35s. Thousands of men and women produced the 300,000 individual parts from 46 U.S. states and 10 other countries to make these stealth fighters, and they should be proud of their accomplishment.”
“Delivering the most F-35s in program history is a clear demonstration of our growing stability and ability to ramp up production,” Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program general manager, said in a statement.
To help keep production rates and efficiency up next year, Congress added to the fiscal year 2015 budget $224 million for two F-35A Joint Strike Fighters and $255 million for two additional F-35Cs beyond the Air Force’s and Navy’s respective requests, funding a total of 38 JSFs in the bill (Defense Daily, Dec. 10).
Of this year’s jets, 23F-35A conventional variants went to the U.S. Air Force, two F-35As went to the Royal Australian Air Force, four F-35B vertical landing variants went to the Marine Corps, six F-35Cs went to the Navy and this last F-35C went to the Marine Corps.
Nineteen of the jets were assigned to Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz.; 14 were assigned to Eglin Air Force Base in Valparaiso, Fla.; two were assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina; and one was assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona.