The nine non-US countries signed up as partners on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program have a combined airframe requirement of 600 to 800—basically equivalent to the whole Navy/Marine Corps planned buy. Those export aircraft are worth some $60 billion. And, Lockheed officials expect there will be additional, non-partner countries interested in purchasing the JSF. More than 30 countries eventually bought—and are buying—the F-35’s predecessor, the F-16. Lockheed has built about 4,500 F-16 fighters.
Rumored cuts to the F-35 from the fiscal 2025 defense budget—six from Air Force plans—would not be offset by recent Foreign Military Sales, and will disrupt ongoing Lot 19 negotiations, Pentagon and industry sources said.