An F-35 flies at the first Lockheed Martin Space and Air Show in Sanford, Florida on October 31, 2020. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense awarded a $30 billion contract to aerospace and arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin to purchase nearly 400 F-35 fighter jets.
The newly announced deal is an expansion of an existing contract, adding more than $7.8 billion. The modification was made so the government can obtain an additional 127 aircrafts.
"This contract strikes the right balance between what's best for the U.S. taxpayers, military services, allies and our foreign military sales customers," said Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt.
"The F-35 is the world's premier multi-mission, 5th-generation weapon system, and the modernized Block 4 capabilities these new aircraft will bring to bear strengthens not just capability, but interoperability with our allies and partners across land, sea, air and cyber domains."
Lockheed Martin has delivered 141 F-35s through 2022. The United States is expecting the current contract to be delivered by August 2026. The company will perform work at several locations including Fort Worth, Texas, Orlando, Fla., and El Segundo, Calif.
The new F-35s manufactured to fulfill this contract will feature newly designed cockpits, core processors and improved memory.
Deliveries of F-35s were temporarily suspended after an incident in which a pilot had to eject from an F-35B at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 15. The aircraft spun out of control on the tarmac, prompting the pilot to eject.