FORT WORTH, Texas, July 31st, 2008 — The U.S. Department of Defense has released $1 billion of funding to acquire six Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft as part of the second Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract for the F-35.
The LRIP 2 contract, worth $2.2 billion for a total of 12 aircraft, was awarded in May. At that time the government authorized six conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35As, with release of $933 million, and gave provisional approval for the STOVL jets pending certain requirements. Those stipulations were met by the first flight of the initial F-35B test aircraft on June 11 and by completion of a propulsion system review on July 22. The government exercised the option for the STOVL aircraft and released the $1 billion on July 22.
The government had previously released long-lead funding of $158 million in July 2007 for the 12 LRIP 2 aircraft. An additional $110 million of sustainment options remains to be authorized in the 4th quarter of 2008.