Lockheed Martin is aiming to manufacture 169 F-35 fighter jets next year as the company recovers from delayed deliveries in the pandemic.
The defence manufacturer made the statement as a conference hosted by investment management firm Bernstein.
Production of the fifth generation fighter aircraft is expected to flatten out at about 175 aircraft per year after 2022, including for partner nation deliveries as well as the US military.
The F-35 has struggled to enter full production as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockheed Martin expects to deliver between 133-139 F-35s this year, followed by 169 the year after.
The company recently announced Bridget Lauderdale, currently vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ Integrated Fighter Group (IFG), including the F-16 and F-22, is the new vice president and general manager of the F-35 programme.
Additionally, Bill Brotherton, who has been serving as the acting F-35 vice president and general manager, has been named to a new role as vice president, Aeronautics Enterprise Performance. He will oversee programme management processes and resources to ensure strong program performance across the enterprise. This includes oversight of cost, schedule, and performance reporting for Aeronautics.
The first F-35 delivery for Denmark was recently celebrated at Lockheed Martin’s factory in Fort Worth, Texas.
In the period 2021 to 2026, Denmark will acquire 27 new F-35s. The jet is phasing out the F-16, which since the 1980s has given Denmark the ability to assert Danish sovereignty, take part in international operations and contribute to NATO’s collective defence.
The first Danish F-35 fighter jets will continue to be in the USA, and it is not until 2023 that Danish F-35 aircraft will land at Skrydstrup Air Base.
Three variants of the F-35 are replacing legacy fighters for the US military, as well as 10 other countries including the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway.
More than 645 F-35s have been delivered and are operating from 26 bases around the world.