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F-35 passes 300th delivery milestone

12 June 2018
The 300th F-35 was a US Air Force F-35A destined for Hill Air Force Base in Utah. While it has taken seven years to reach 300 production deliveries, improvements in the production process mean that the next 300 will be delivered in the next two and a half years. Source: Lockheed Martin

The 300th production-standard F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was delivered by Lockheed Martin and the Joint Program Office (JPO) on 11 June.

The milestone at the Fort Worth facility in Texas took place some seven years after production-standard deliveries first began in May 2011. Besides Fort Worth, aircraft have also been delivered from the Final Assembly and Check-Out (FACO) facilities in Italy and Japan.

With the 300th aircraft being a conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A for the US Air Force (USAF), 197 F-35A, 75 F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL), and 28 F-35C carrier variant (CV) JSFs have now been delivered to US and international customers.

According to Lockheed Martin, touch labour on the F-35 has been reduced by about 75% over the last five years while the production span time has decreased by about 20% since 2015. As such, the next 300 aircraft should all be delivered by the end of 2020.

Having met its target of delivering 66 aircraft in 2017, Lockheed Martin said it should hit its 91-aircraft target for 2018. Full-rate production (FRP) in 2023 should see a delivery rate of 160 aircraft. As noted by Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft: Development & Production , some 491 of the F-35’s 3,170 programme of record had so far been placed under contract.

Lockheed Martin and the JPO are currently negotiating Lot 11 for the F-35, which will be the final low-rate initial production (LRIP) block. Speaking at the Berlin ILA Airshow in late April, the company’s vice-president for F-35 business development and strategy integration, Jack Crisler, said that the LRIP Lot 11 procurement for 141 aircraft is now being negotiated.

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