Lockheed in “Last Bits of Discussion” on Fourth F-35 Lot

Lockheed Martin officials say the company is in good shape to ramp up its F-35 production rate, with more than 30 aircraft currently in some phase of production, Executive Vice President for Aeronautics and F-35 Program Integration Tom Burbage told reporters at AFA’s Air & Space Conference Monday. The first three low-rate initial production lots include both domestic and international aircraft. The last LRIP Lot 1 aircraft—USAF’s AF-7—and the first LRIP Lot 2 aircraft—AF-8 and AF-9—are just about to leave the factory. Five Lot 2 aircraft are in the mating stations, while three Lot 3 aircraft—two short takeoff and vertical landing variants for the United Kingdom and one conventional variant for the Netherlands—are in assembly. Lot 4 includes two additional international aircraft, a third UK STOVL aircraft and a second conventional one for the Dutch. Burbage expects a resolution soon to the cost “uncertainty” that culminated last year and contributed to a major program overhaul. That, he said, should free movement on Lot 4.