Germany’s Rheinmetall completed a U.S. Air Force contract worth over $6.5 million to supply 25mm x 137 Frangible Armour Piercing (FAP) ammunition to the F-35 fighter, the company said Monday.

The contract includes the supply of several tens of thousands of rounds in four lots with delivery set to begin in December 2017.

The FAP was developed by the company for and in conjunction with NATO air forces to provide the F-35 with “superior lethality: against modern Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) at extreme slant ranges while also being able to target enemy aircraft in air-to-air engagements, Rheinmetall said.

The Air Force's F-35A conventional variant. Photo: Air Force.
The Air Force’s F-35A conventional variant. Photo: Air Force.

The company noted these FAPs are already in service with the F-35s of two undisclosed NATO countries.

Rheinmetall said the order is of major strategic significance to it for two reasons: the U.S. is procuring the F-35 on a large scale while many other countries are also opting for the aircraft; and that the FAP complements the company’s existing set of high-performance aircraft ammunition, allowing the company “to bring its full expertise to bear in the field of aircraft armament,” it said in a statement.

This means Rheinmetall expects future major orders, particularly because the first user nations of the F-35 are already ordering smaller amounts of the FAP for testing purposes, the company said.

Manufacturing of the FAP for the Air Force will occur at Rheinmetall’s Switzerland facility. The company said it intends to have the ammunition of possible follow-up contracts assembled within the U.S. by Rheinmetall Day & Zimmermann Munitions (RDZM), a joint venture with the U.S.-based Day & Zimmerman.

RDZM operates out of Rosslyn, Va. and was originally established last fall.