July 25 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin is receiving an $8 million contract modification for logistical support of Israel's F-35A Lightning II fighters.
The contract falls under the U.S. Department of Defense's foreign military sales program and provides for maintenance, sustainment operations, supply chain management, work on the Automated Logistics Information system and training.
The work will be performed in Orlando, Fla., Greenville, N.C. and Fort Worth, Texas, with a projected completion date of Dec. 2017. Eight million dollars from the Foreign Military Sales program will be obligated.
Israel currently has five F-35s in service. Three fighters were delivered in April. Orders for 28 more have already been placed, with further procurement expected. They are not yet considered fully operational despite unconfirmed reports of their use in combat missions in Syria.
Israel was the first country under the Foreign Military Sales program to purchase the F-35. It is the first 5th generation stealth fighter to see service with the Israeli Air Force and is expected to form the backbone of their air superiority forces for the next 40 years.
The Israeli model of the F-35A is referred to as the Adir and has some features tailored for Israeli use. It is expected to replace much of Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighter fleets and provide a deep-strike option against heavy air defenses without the massive support needed by more conventional aircraft.