WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin will not sue over the way the Pentagon handled the contract for the ninth lot of F-35 joint strike fighters, a top executive confirmed to Defense News.
Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of the company's aeronautics division, said in an interview that Lockheed Martin was moving on from the disagreement over low-rate initial production Lot 9, where the government imposed a unilateral contract agreement on the company.
"We have resolved our differences with the government over LRIP 9 and we have accepted LRIP 9, and that's behind us," Carvalho said. "It's a done deal."
Company officers had indicated they were looking at legal options since the contract was awarded in November, but that no longer appears to be on the table.
Carvalho also stressed that the company believes its Blueprint for Affordability initiative, which looks for ways to drive cost down on the manufacturing of the plane, will continue to find ways to reduce pricing moving forward, even as the production rate stabilizes in the coming years, perhaps moving beyond the target price of $85 million for an F-35A model.
"For the last number of years we’ve been talking about $85 [million per plane]," he said.
"We are getting more and more condiment to $85 [million], and now we're looking at paths to below $85 [million].
"We’re going to continue to do everything we can to get costs out of the airplane."