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IFC 2022: Lockheed Martin anticipates second wind of F-35 follow-on orders

With existing customers such as Australia looking to increase their F-35 (pictured) orders, Lockheed Martin anticipates a potential second wind of sales. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Lockheed Martin anticipates renewed interest in the F-35 Lightning II, driving a surge in follow-on orders for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Speaking to Janes at the IQPC International Fighter Conference 2022 (IFC 2022) in Berlin, JR McDonald, vice-president of F-35 strategy and business development for the company, said that existing customers are looking to make good on their original programme of record (PoR) numbers as increased budgets become available.

“We do [see this interest in follow-on orders]. We have always had discussions with customer countries as to where they are now [in terms of aircraft numbers], and where they want to be later. Some have anticipated needing more, and from some, we are waiting to see,” McDonald said on 17 November.

McDonald's comments came the day after a Royal Australian Air Force official said at the same conference that his service would make a decision in 2023 on increasing the current order of 72 F-35As by 28 to restore the full 100 aircraft PoR figure. Before this, the Royal Netherlands Air Force announced in June that it was accelerating a follow-on buy of six F-35As to take its total fleet up to 52 aircraft. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, have also recently publicly reaffirmed their original PoR numbers.

To date, more than 860 F-35s of all variants have been delivered to the international programme that comprises 16 countries.

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