Lockheed Martin Corp. showed “marked improvement” by delivering its F-35 jets on time -- and sometimes early -- as the No. 1 defense contractor seeks approval for full-rate production decision by December, according to the Pentagon agency that oversees contracts.
The Defense Contract Management Agency said Lockheed delivered 134 of the fighter jets in 2019, seven more than its contractual requirement for the year and three more than its annual “commitment” to the Pentagon program office.
After years of delays and flawed performance for the costliest U.S. weapons system, full-rate production of the F-35 would be a seal of approval from the Defense Department that the $428 billion program has been fully tested, deemed effective against the highest-level threats and can be produced efficiently.
The early deliveries were offset by 17 planes that were delivered late, according to the DCMA. Still, “in spite of rapid growth in quantities, DCMA is not seeing a commensurate growth in late aircraft,” Mark Woodbury, spokesman for the agency said. He said it’s “encouraged by Lockheed Martin’s continued improvement in the area of aircraft on-time delivery.” (end of excerpt)
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