Lockheed Martin wins nearly $8Bln contract for 129 F-35s: Pentagon
Arms manufacturing behemoth Lockheed Martin has been rewarded an arms contract worth nearly $8 billion from the US government.
The aerial unit of arms manufacturing conglomerate Lockheed Martin, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, has won a contract that would see its pockets grow more than $7.6 billion deeper, according to the Pentagon.
The deal is a US Navy modification contract, under which Lockheed Martin will produce 129 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, the US Department of Defense announced.
"Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is awarded a not-to-exceed $7,630,940,571... contract," the Defense Department said in a press release on Friday. "This modification increases the ceiling to procure 129 Lot 15 aircraft."
The order includes F-35A aircraft for the US Air Force; three F-35B aircraft and ten F-35C aircraft for the Marine Corps; 15 F-35C aircraft for the US Navy; 32 F-35A aircraft and four F-35B aircraft for non-Defense Department participants; and 16 F-35A aircraft for Foreign Military Sales customers, the release added.
Around 57% of the work on the contract will be performed in Forth Worth, Texas, 14% in El Segundo, California, and 9% in Warton, the United Kingdom, the release also said.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in January it had sued to stop the acquisition of the country's last independent supplier of missile propulsion systems over concerns that Lockheed would use its leverage to harm rival defense contractors. One month later, Lockheed Martin scrapped a $4.4 billion deal to buy Aerojet Rocketdyne after the FTC moved to block it.
Lockheed Martin, however, is still conducting business as usual with Washington, as it handed over its first operational Multiple Rocket Launch System (MLRS) to the US Army, the company announced in mid-July.
According to the arms conglomerate, the MLRS can be carried on heavy military airlift carriers, and they are designed to destroy artillery, air defense concentrations, trucks, light armor, and personnel carrier at distances further than previously possible while having the ability to relocate at high speed.
Two days after the handover, the US announced that it launched two hypersonic missiles manufactured by the company in light of mounting concerns that China and Russia have had more success manufacturing and developing their own homemade hypersonic weapons.
The latest time period has seen the US conduct successful hypersonic weapons tests in a change from its usual failures, raising questions about cost and increasing concerns that Washington has been failing in what is now dubbed a superpower arms race.
Arms manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon Technologies have all touted their hypersonic weapons programs to investors in a bid to further benefit from wars and the shift to the new arms race in light of surging tensions around the globe.
M270 MLRSs are among the weapons handed out to Kiev as part of the influx of western arms to the country in light of the Ukraine war. However, Ukraine has been found to be selling weapons it acquired from the West on the black market due to the Kiev forces' limited ability to use them because of their lack of training, logistical challenges, and the diminishing size of the Ukrainian armed forces, as per former Pentagon advisor Karen Kwiatkowski.
Read next: Stingers, Javelin missiles sent to Kiev sold on black market: Lavrov
At the start of June, the White House announced that the United States was sending a new batch of military supplies to Ukraine. The new batch of arms supply is worth $450 million in shipments.
Though the United States has been taking care of providing training for the Ukrainian soldiers when it comes to arms they are not accustomed to, Kiev is still selling its arms to the black market due to "inexperience".
Even the HIMARS are likely to be sold, US defense officials have said, though Pentagon policy chief Colin Kahl said Kiev's forces recently completed training on HIMARS delivered to Ukraine by Washington and London.