WASHINGTON — The US Department of Defense signed a contract worth 7.63 billion USD with the Lockheed Martin concern for the supply of 5th generation F-35 Lightning II fighters in all three versions. Deliveries are expected by October 2024.
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The contract concerns the so-called 15th tranches. These will be 49 F-35As for the US Air Force, 15 F-35C carrier-based fighters for the US Navy, and another 10 for the US Marine Corps, which will also receive 3 F-35B vertical takeoff aircraft. Another 32 F-35As and 4 F-35Bs will be formed by US allies, supplementing the 16 F-35As under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The users of these machines are not specified, but apart from the last 16, they must be intended for the countries participating in the JSF program.
Assembly will be done by Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. So far, more than 800 F-35 fighter jets have been produced in various versions, a significant number of them for foreign buyers.
F-35s have been selected in several allied countries in recent months. By the way, in countries such as Canada and Finland, where they will replace the Hornets in various versions, Germany, which has ordered 35 nuclear-capable fighters under the Nuclear Sharing program to replace the Tornado in this role, and the Czech Republic, where 24 F-35 have replaced a smaller number of Gripen.
Poland is another country that has ordered F-35s from the US. Warsaw has ordered 32 machines and recently explored the possibility of buying additional F-35 machines to completely replace the post-Soviet equipment. The first Polish F-35s received in FMS mode should be delivered in 2024, but they will be delivered to the country in late 2025 and 2026, as they will be used earlier for US training. Deliveries will end in 2030.
Another user of the F-35A is the Republic of Korea, which recently decided to increase its order from 40 to 60 machines in the F-35A version.
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