Lockheed Martin delivered 134 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) in 2019, exceeding the joint government and industry goal for the year by three aircraft.
In 2019 deliveries came from low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 11 and included 81 F-35s for the United States, 30 for international partner nations and 23 for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Variants comprised 102 conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35As, 25 short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35Bs, and seven carrier variant (CV) F-35Cs.
The 134 figure for 2019 builds on the 91 aircraft delivered in 2018: an increase of 47%. In 2017 the number was 66. As noted by Lockheed Martin, the goal for 2020 stands at 141 F-35s. Increasing numbers of aircraft are set to roll off the lines at Fort Worth in Texas, Cameri in Italy, and Nagoya in Japan through to peak production in 2023.
In October the US Department of Defense agreed a USD34 billion deal with Lockheed Martin for the production and delivery of 478 F-35s. The agreement included the 291 US, 127 international partner, and 60 FMS aircraft in Lots 12, 13, and 14. These orders comprise 351 F-35As, 86 F-35Bs, and 41 F-35Cs.
As noted by the Joint Program Office (JPO) and Lockheed Martin, this block buy brings the cost of the F-35A down from in excess of USD250 million in Lot 1 to USD77.9 million in Lot 14. The cost of the F-35B in Lot 14 will be USD101.3 million, while the cost of the F-35C in Lot 14 will be USD94.4 million.
This latest award represents the first block buy since the system, design, and development (SDD) phase of the F-35 programme was concluded in April 2018. It is not classified as a multi-year award as those can only be granted once full-rate production has been approved.
As noted by Lockheed Martin, there are currently nearly 500 F-35s operating from 21 bases around the globe. Eight nations have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil and eight services have declared initial operating capability with the type.
Additional reporting by Gareth Jennings, London