July 19 (UPI) — Lockheed Martin was awarded two contracts worth about $112.4 million for work on the F-35 stealth fighter jets ahead of Pentagon orders to phase out Turkey subcontractors for the program by next March.
The United States removed Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet program on Wednesday after it took delivery of Russian missile defense system parts last week. In all, 14 nations participate in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program.
Lockheed is the prime contractor of the primary airframe builder and Pratt & Whitney manufactures the propulsion system.
In the two contracts with the U.S. Navy, no sub-contractor work was listed to be performed in Turkey, according to the U.S. Defense Department on Thursday.
Eight Turkish companies make parts for the fuselage, landing gear and cockpit displays of the aircraft, according to Lockheed Martin. Fokker Elmo manufactures 40 percent of the F-35’s electrical wiring and interconnection system.
Lockheed was awarded a $34.7 million contract to develop and deliver an engineering change proposal to enable the production cut-in of the Fuselage Station 425 Bulkhead structural modification required for F-35A and F-35C. This will allow full-envelope internal carriage of aft heavy weaponry.
Work will be performed at its plant in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in July 2022.
Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation and non-U.S. Department of Defense participant funds in the amount of $10 million will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
In the other contract, Lockheed was awarded $77.7 million for the procurement of software data loads as well as long lead material and parts for the delivery of F-35 Lightning II low-rate initial production Lots 12, 13 and 14.
Thirty-percent of the work be performed in Fort Worth, 25 percent in El Segundo, Calif.; 20 percent in Warton, United Kingdom, 10 percent in Orlando, Fla.; 5 percent in Nashua, N.H.; 5 percent each in Nagoya, Japan, and Baltimore, Md. Work is expected to be completed in March 2023.
International partner funds in the full amount will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
In May, the Defense Department said it is seeking new parts suppliers to replace those coming from Turkey should it buy a defense system from Russia.
“We have for some time now been working to look at alternate sources of supply for the F-35 supply chain that is inside Turkey right now,” Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, mentioned the search for alternate suppliers during a news conference.
Lord at the time couldn’t say yet how quickly alternate providers could be put in place but she said stealth jet deliveries might be delayed.
“We see a potential slowing down of some deliveries over the next two years, some potential cost impacts,” Lord told reporters. “But right now we believe we can minimize both of those and are working on refining” that analysis.
The decision to cancel its partnership with the F-35 will cost Turkey jobs and economic opportunities, Lord said.
Turkey suppliers have manufactured more than 900 parts for the F-35.
These companies are set to do $12 billion in work on the F-35 program over the life of the jet, according to USNI News.
The Pentagon halted the shipment of F-35 planes to Turkey in early April. Turkey was expecting the first of the $90 million jets to arrive in November.
Six NATO countries have received F-35s: the United States, Australia, Britain, Italy, Norway and the Netherlands. Two other nations that also participated in the aircraft’s development — Canada and Denmark — are scheduled to receive the aircraft as well.
The F-35A is planned to replace the A-10 and F-16 for the Air Force, the F-35C is to replace the F/A-18C for the U.S. Navy, the F-35B will take over for F/A-18B and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps.
Training is conducted at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and Eglin Air Force base in Florida.