Pentagon And Lockheed Cut Deal For More F-35s


In an exclusive, Reuters is reportingthat Lockheed Martin and the Defense Department have inked a $4 billion deal for an eighth series delivery of 43 F-35 single-engine, all-weather, stealth fighters. According to the report, the hard-fought contract will lower the price of the jet by about 3 percent-and it includes aircraft to be built for the U.S. and allies. The cost of the Air Force version will apparently go down by nearly 4 percent. An agreement on this sale had been expected some three months ago; however, a June 23 engine failure grounded the existing fleet and threw a wrench into the negotiations.

The first of the sixth group of production F-35s was delivered by Lockheed Martin on Wednesday of this week-the 23rd of 36 new jets that are scheduled for this year. Despite the temporary grounding of the fleet, Lockheed Martin has said it will deliver all 36 of the aircraft it has promised this year.

The agreement comes in the wake of a DOD agreement with engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney that reduced the price of the engines for the seventh set of F-35s by 4.5 percent. Because of the agreement on the eighth batch of jets, Reuters is reporting that it is expected that there will be price reductions for the engines for those aircraft as well.