Lockheed Martin [LMT] has received a more than $7.6 billion contract for 129 F-35 fighters in Lot 15–49 F-35As for the U.S. Air Force; three F-35Bs and 10 F-35Cs for the U.S. Marine Corps; 15 F-35Cs for the U.S. Navy; 32 F-35As and four F-35Bs for non-DoD “participants”; and 16 F-35As for Foreign Military Sales customers.

Work is expected to finish in October 2024, DoD said in an Aug. 12 contract announcement.

On July 18, the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) and Lockheed Martin entered into a “handshake agreement”

for up to 375 F-35s in Lots 15 to 17 (Defense Daily, July 19).

The F-35 program is pursuing contract award for Lots 15 and 16 “as a high priority,” while the program plans to exercise a contract option for Lot 17 after Congress passes the fiscal 2023 defense appropriations bill, DoD has said.

Lockheed Martin could receive $30 billion for the Lot 15-17 buy.

“Over the past three months, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin made significant progress in negotiations,” DoD said on July 18. “The team deliberately addressed significant real-world challenges—including the COVID-19 pandemic, associated supply chain impacts and workforce disruptions, and inflation—to reach a handshake agreement. While the handshake agreement is on a basis of 375 aircraft, the final aircraft quantity may change based on any adjustments made by the U.S. Congress in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget and any orders requested by international partners.”