Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is receiving a $427.1 million order against an existing contract for ancillary and pilot flight equipment for F-35 Lightning II production, the Department of Defense announced on Monday.
The equipment will go toward low-rate Lot 11 F-35 construction for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and foreign military participants in the program. The work will primarily take place in Inglewood, Calif., and White Plains, N.Y., with an expected completion date of December 2020.
The F-35 Lightning II 5th generation stealth fighter is slated to replace much of the U.S. fighter fleet and many foreign air forces. The U.S. is by far the largest customer, with an expected procurement of well over 2000 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. Foreign customers are also expected to purchase hundreds of the aircraft, including key members of NATO.
The F-35 is the most expensive weapons program in U.S. history and has been marked by delays, cost overruns, and development problems. The Block 3F software package required to make it fully operational is still pending fixes and final verification, though Lockheed says the software issues will be resolved by the end of 2017.