House Armed Services Committee chairman says the F-35 is less survivable than previously hope

Lockheed Martin to design and develop F-35 variant tailored for an unspecified foreign customer

By Dario Leone
Dec 29 2021
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The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is overseeing the contract and work is to be completed by December 2026.

The Pentagon announced on Dec. 27, 2021 that Lockheed Martin has been awarded $49 million for the “design and development of a Joint Strike Fighter aircraft variant tailored for an unspecified Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customer,” Alert5 first noted.

According to a US DoD news release, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is overseeing the contract and work is to be completed by December 2026.

No other info is available at this time.

To date, the F-35 operates from 21 bases worldwide, with nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil. There are more than 730 F-35s in service today, with more than 1,535 pilots and 11,500 maintainers trained on the aircraft.

The latest country to select the F-35 has been Finland that will receive 64 F-35A multirole stealth fighters, a robust weapons package, a sustainment solution tailored to Finland’s unique security of supply requirements, as well as a comprehensive training program.

F-35A print
This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

The Finnish Government in fact has announced on Dec. 10, 2021 that Lockheed Martin’s 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II is the aircraft selected for Finnish Air Force‘s HX Fighter Program.

“The F-35 will provide Finnish industries unique digital capabilities that leverage 5th Generation engineering and manufacturing. The production work will continue for more than 20 years, and the F-35 sustainment work will continue into the 2070s,” said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program.

According to Lockheed Martin, its interoperability facilitates seamless information exchanges with surface and air platforms, strengthening interoperability between the different branches of the Finnish Defence Forces.

The F-35 selection will deliver economic and technical advantages to Finland for decades to come. Finnish industry will have many first-of-a-kind opportunities to work directly on F-35 production and sustainment. Through indirect industrial participation projects outside of F-35 production, Lockheed Martin will build industry partnerships with Finnish companies and academic institutions that offer opportunities focused on developing and advancing security partnerships far into the future.

Lockheed F-35 Lightning II model
This model is available from AirModels! CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.
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