US orders 78 new F-35 combat aircraft for three forces

Lockheed Martin F-35A

The US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command has placed an order worth $4.7 billion for 78 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters from Lockheed Martin.

The fixed-price-incentive-firm-target, firm-fixed-price agreement was announced by the Department of Defense (DoD) on 31 March.

Of the 78 fighters, 48 will be F-35A models for the USAF whilst 14 F-35Bs will be delivered to the US Marine Corps. The US Navy will procure 16 F-35C aircraft.

Delivery of the combat aircraft is expected by March 2023, with work being carried out at sites across the US including California, Florida, Maryland and New Hampshire. Approximately 9% of the work will be carried out in the UK by BAE Systems at its manufacturing and assembly facility in Warton.

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The US Air Force and US Navy procurement funds for FY2020 are financing the programme. 

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