Lockheed Martin won $4.9 billion worth of contracts Tuesday for work on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In this January photo, the active-duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings conducted an F-35A Combat Power Exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, in January. Photo by R. Nial Bradshaw/U.S. Air Force | License Photo
March 31 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin picked up three contracts totaling $4.9 billion for work on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft Tuesday, according to the Pentagon.
The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter -- a single-engine stealth multirole combat aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps -- is considered the most advanced fighter aircraft in the sky.
The F-35 program the aircraft has also been plagued by problems with functionality and timely delivery, but it remains one of the largest drivers of the Pentagon's budget.
The largest of the three contracts, for $4.7 billion, funds the procurement of 78 F-35 combat aircraft total: 48 F-35A aircraft for the Air Force, 14 F-35B aircraft for the Marine Corps and 16 F-35C for the Navy.
More than half the work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and the work is expected to be completed by March 2023.
Under a second deal, Lockheed will receive $202 million to provide engineering, maintenance, logistics manpower and material support to produce software builds as well as carry out test flights for Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
This contract has an expected completion date of September 2020.
The bulk of work will be carried out at Edwards Air Force Base in California and Patuxent River, Md., with other parts of the contract being carried out in Fort Worth, Texas, and Orlando, Fla.
Lockheed has also been awarded a $22.9 million contract to integrate the government of Belgium into the F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft enterprise as part of Belgium's $5.1 billion agreement with the U.S. for procurement of the F-35 air system.
The bulk of work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and should be completed by September 2023.
At the beginning of March Lockheed announced that it had delivered its 500th F-35 aircraft.