Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has been awarded contracts totaling $1.2 billion to deliver 63 more F-35As, in production Lots 14 and 15, for the U.S. Air Force and for the government of Australia.
The two modifications to previous contracts, announced Tuesday by the Department of Defense, cover F-35As and associated gear for Australia, as well as work to get ahead on Lot 15 F-35A production for the U.S. Air Force.
The F-35A is a conventional takeoff and landing variant of the F-35 designed for traditional air force bases and is the only version with an internal cannon. The variant was designed for the U.S. Air Force, but is also the variant sold to most allied air forces, according to Lockheed.
The Australian deal, valued at $831 million, comes under an April 2017 contract and is for the production and delivery of 15 Lot 14 F-35A aircraft and associated red gear. The previous contract awarded $364.6 million of a $1.3 billion contract to Lockheed for the production of 110 Lot 13 and 14 Lightning II aircraft for non-U.S. governments.
Australia has steadily ordered F-35s for its fleet, with the first ones having been delivered last December.
Work on the Australia deal should be completed in 2023.
Lockheed's deal with the Air Force awards $328 million to procure long lead material, parts and components for Lot 15 production of 48 F-35A Lightning aircraft, with the full value of the contract obligated at the time of the award.
The new deal sees Lockheed moving beyond the recently completed $34 billion deal with the Department of Defense for Lots 12-14 -- the largest procurement contract in Pentagon history -- which will see per-plane cost of all three F-35 variants hit its lowest number yet.
Work on the contract will be divided among sites including Fort Worth, Texas; Warton, Britain; El Segundo, Calif. and Orlando, Fla. Work under the contract should be completed in June 2023.