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Fighters will be in the sixth and seventh low production batches

A source that claims to have been briefed on discussions between Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon claims that the two have reached an agreement on two additional batches of F-35 Lightning II fighters. The deal is claimed to be worth over $7 billion and covers an additional 75 aircraft.

The source claims that 36 F-35 fighters will be purchased in the sixth production lot and 35 aircraft will be purchased in the seventh production lot. Those totals reportedly break down with 60 of the aircraft going to the U.S. military, and the remaining 11 going to Australia, Italy, Turkey, and Britain.

The F-35 program is finally picking up steam after a number of major delays and cost overruns. The program is reportedly costing $392 billion for procurement and development of the F-35. The agreement between the Pentagon and Lockheed was reportedly negotiated without factoring across-the-board budget cuts instituted by the Pentagon in March.

The last deal struck between the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin was for the fifth batch of F-35 fighters and was concluded last December. That deal saw the Pentagon purchase 32 aircraft at a cost of $3.8 billion. Reuters reports that government mandated furloughs for some civilian employees working on the F-35 program are resulting in delays in flight testing.

"We don't know yet what the final impact will be," DellaVedova said. "We think we'll be at least a month behind."

The civilian workers operate flight test controls at Edwards Air Force Base in California and Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland.

Source: Reuters

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RE: Funding "Problems"
By inperfectdarkness on 7/31/2013 3:58:48 AM , Rating: 2
No, you're giving up 16 hours per pay period because the US congress can't pull its head out of its collective ass when it comes to the budget & sequestration.

Austerity is the only cure for America's woes--and Americans are aghast at the very idea. Meanwhile, national defense is NOT an optional budget item. Maybe 150 years ago you could do without a standing army and get to full-fighting strength for war within a few months. That's not at all possible with high-tech, advanced weaponry. Flying is a perishable skill, not to mention the combat tactics utilized for dogfighting, interdiction and CAS.

The DOD isn't guilt-free on this--but it is hardly the root cause. There's at least 10,000 other federal programs that should be cut entirely, well before the DOD budget starts getting axed yet again.

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