08:27 GMT06 March 2021
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    The Pentagon announced that the Lockheed Martin Corporation has won an $81.4 million contract to upgrade the F-35 combat jet against evolving threats.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Lockheed Martin Corporation has won an $81.4 million contract to upgrade the F-35 combat jet against evolving threats, reduce life cycle costs and improve operational suitability, the US Department of Defense announced.

    "Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded an $81.3 [million] contract… [that] includes new and upgraded capabilities to provide enhancements and continuous improvements to maintain viability against evolving threats," the release stated on Thursday.

    The work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in May 2017, the Defense Department noted.

    According to the proposed Defense Department budget for 2016, the US Air Force would purchase 44 F-35 jets this fiscal year, 48 in 2017 and 60 each year from 2018 through 2020.

    The total procurement cost of the 1,736 F-35 jet is about $215 billion. However, development of the F-35 fighter jet has already cost the Defense Department some $400 billion, and the program requires significantly more funding before it can be declared fully operational.

    Moreover, the F-35 jet has suffered a number of problems, including faulty mechanics, cyber vulnerabilities and inferiority when compared to its predecessors such as F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet.

    US allies Canada and Norway have already withdrawn from participating in the troubled F-35 program. The aircraft is now the most expensive plane in military history.


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