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December 05, 2011

DoD and Lockheed agree on F-35 contract

Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon have reached agreement on a contract for the next batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets that apparently calls for the company to share more of the rising cost of the aircraft.

The agreement, announced Monday by the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, was reached after lengthy and contentious negotiations that went public in recent weeks.

Details of the contract, including the price, the number of planes and cost-sharing arrangements, were not disclosed.

The contract was concluded on Friday, less than 24 hours after the Pentagon’s F-35 program boss went public with a frank account of new problems being found in the design and production of the jets.

 In an interview published on-line by AOL Defense, Vice Admiral David Venlet, the program’s executive officer, said that significant numbers of cracks and “hot spots” were being found in the F-35’s main structures. The problems will require expensive redesign work and time-consuming repairs to airplanes already built and those to be produced in the next year or two. 

- Bob Cox



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