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Air Force to Issue New Contract to Expand F-35 Fleet

Jeff Brody

Ellen Lord, under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and 2019 Wash100 Award winner, announced the Air Force plans to award a new contract in June or July to procure additional F-35 fighter jets, Breaking Defense reported Friday. The service would enter into a Lot 12 deal to buy F-35A aircraft worth $89 million each. But Lord noted the price may go down for the next Low Rate of Initial Production lot. 

In September, the Air Force released $11.5 billion for Lot 11 acquisition of 141 aircraft. However, service officials expect to see some challenges in the upcoming aircraft deal as Turkey may leave the F-35 program due to conflicts with other participating nations. 

“We see a potential slowing down of some deliveries over the next two years,” Lord said. “Some potential cost impacts, but right now we believe we can minimize both of those and are working on refining them.”

Ankara houses an F-35 industrial base and the country planned to buy 100 F-35A aircraft. If the country leaves the program, the Air Force expects costs of the aircraft to increase for other countries. The U.S. F-35 program currently involves 14 buying countries.

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