Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson said on Tuesday that negotiations were going well regarding future production of its F-35 strike fighter jets.
She was referring to the three different models they were manufacturing for the Pentagon and for their overseas customers. Air Force Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan said that he expected to reach an initial agreement by the end of this month. Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the Pentagon’s F-35 office stated that the deal involves 71 aircraft to be produced in two batches.
Hewson told reporters: “We’ve been very open and transparent with our data and I think the negotiations are going well, She added that they were making good progress and hoped “to close (the deal) in the near term.” She was also optimistic about the support they were getting for the program despite cuts to the US Defense budget.
She confirmed that they were working with the military to establish a date when the next batch of F-35 strike fighter jets would enter service.”You can feel the momentum accelerating throughout the program” she said.
Lockheed have delivered 12 jets in the past three months and expect to deliver 36 in the full year. The total value of the deal is between $4.5 billion to $5.0 billion dollars, according to Lockheed’s CFO. However, the Pentagon is trying to pressurize Lockheed to reduce its price in the light of the $500 billion mandatory cuts to its budget over the next ten years.
Separate negotiations are taking place with the manufacturers of the Pratt and Whitney engines that will be fitted to the F-35 strike fighter jets.
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