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.

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

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