The Pentagon on Apr. 28 awarded Lockheed Martin [LMT] an almost $7.8 billion contract for 126 F-35 fighters in Lot 17, including 43 F-35As for the U.S. Air Force, eight for Finland, seven for Italy, six earch for the Netherlands and Poland, four each for Japan and Belgium, and three for Denmark; 26 F-35Bs–15 for the U.S. Marine Corps, seven for the United Kingdom, two for Italy, and two for Japan; and 19 F-35Cs–13 for the U.S. Navy and six for the Marine Corps.

In addition, the contract “exercises options to provide for air system diminishing manufacturing sources integration, software data loads, critical safety items, and red gear for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-Department of Defense participants, and Foreign Military Sales customers,” DoD said. The work on Lot 17 is expected to finish in Aug. 2026.

Currently, 17 countries participate in the F-35 program, and the Czech Republic and Greece may become the newest buyers. The three latest countries to announce contract signings are Finland in February last year, Switzerland last September, and Germany last December.

Lockheed Martin plans to finish its 1,000th F-35 by the end of this year.

On Dec. 30 last year, Lockheed Martin said that the F-35 Joint Program Office and the company had worked out a deal to build and deliver up to 398 F-35s domestically and internationally–145 aircraft for Lot 15, 127 for Lot 16, and 126 for the Lot 17 contract option, including the first F-35 aircraft for Belgium, Finland and Poland. Those lots are to include Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3), powered by the L3Harris [LHX] integrated core processor.

F-35 program officials have described TR-3 as  the computer “backbone” for Block 4, which is to have 88 unique features and integrate 16 new weapons on the F-35, which became operational in July 2015.