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Lockheed Martin receives F-35 cost-reduction contract

By Stephen Carlson

May 22 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Corp. has received a $137.8 million contract modification for cost-reduction programs for the initial low-rate production of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, the Department of Defense announced on May 19.

The work will primarily be performed in Waco, Texas, El Segundo, Calif. and Warton, England, with other work being completed across the United States. The work is expected to be completed by December 2020.

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Fiscal 2016 aircraft procurement funds from the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps of $137.8 million will be allocated to the program, none of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year. Eighty percent of the modification will go to the Air Force, with the rest split between the Navy and Marine Corps.

The F-35 is a 5th-generation multi-role stealth fighter that is expected to replace much of the air fleet of the three services over the coming years.

Three different variants are have been designed and are under production, including ones capable of aircraft carrier operations for the Navy and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) for the Marine Corps to replace the Harrier jet. VTOL jets are capable of operating from smaller flight decks and improvised landing zones.

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