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WASHINGTON — With a preliminary agreement in hand, negotiations between Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon for the Joint Strike Fighter Lot IX Joint Strike low-rate initial production contract continue, and a final agreement is expected next month, JSF Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova said Wednesday.

Under an "undefinitized contractual action" (UCA) agreed on Tuesday, $625 million in fiscal year 2015 money is being moved to Lockheed to cover company expenses spent thus far on the Lot IX aircraft. The full contract is being negotiated under a not-to-exceed limit of $5.37 billion.

"The government's negotiating position is that the final number will be below that figure," DellaVedova said. "We're confident that the final terms of the contract will represent the best interests of the government and its partners."

Earlier, $698 million in advance procurement funding was awarded for Lot IX using fiscal 2014 money.

A previous story announcing a contract award was due to confusion over the wording of a Pentagon announcement, DellaVedova acknowledged.

The full Lot IX contract will be for a total of 55 aircraft for the US military and its allies, including 41 F-35A conventional ground-based aircraft -- 26 for the US Air Force, six for Norway, seven for Israel and two for Japan.

Twelve F-35B Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing aircraft were ordered, six for the US Marine Corps and six for the United Kingdom.

Another two F-35C carrier-based variants were ordered for the US Navy.

The contract with Lockheed does not include engines for the aircraft, which are being negotiated separately with Pratt and Whitney.

"We also expect a hand-shake agreement with P&W by the end of this year, and we'll definitize that contract in early 2016," DellaVedova said.

All Lot IX aircraft are expected to be delivered by the end of 2017.

Email ccavas@defensenews.com

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