The U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin have reached an agreement in principle to manufacture 32 F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters as part of Low-Rate Initial Production 5 (LRIP-5).
The contract will also fund manufacturing-support equipment, flight test instrumentation and ancillary mission equipment.
Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will produce 22 F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variants for the U.S. Air Force, three F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variants forthe U.S. Marine Corps and seven F-35C carrier variants (CV) for the U.S. Navy.
Aircraft production was started in December 2011 under a previously authorized undefinitized contract action.
The LRIP 5 aircraft will join 63 F-35s contracted under LRIPs 1-4. To date, 29 LRIP aircraft along with 19 previously built System Development and Demonstration aircraft have been delivered from Lockheed Martin's production facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
The most recent deliveries took place in November when three STOVL aircraft were delivered to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.
The U.S. and eight partner nations plan to acquire more than 3,100 F-35 fighters. Israel and Japan have also announced plans to purchase the jet under Foreign Military Sales agreements.