03:51 GMT +320 January 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US F-35 sustainment office awarded a one-year contract worth nearly $2 billion to service more than 490 jets already delivered and prepare the infrastructure for an eventual deployment of 3,000 aircraft, Lockheed Martin announced in a press release.

    "The annual contract funds critical sustainment activities for aircraft currently in the fleet and builds enterprise capacity to support the future fleet of more than 3,000 F-35 aircraft", the release said on Monday. "This includes industry sustainment experts supporting base and depot maintenance, pilot and maintainer training, and sustaining engineering across the globe".

    More than 490 aircraft, including 134 in 2019, have been delivered and are operating from 21 bases around the globe, with more than 975 pilots and 8,585 maintainers trained, the release said.

    Costs over the projected 60-year life of the F-35 programme are expected to total up to $1.5 trillion, making it the most expensive weapons system ever.

    United States, F-35, Lockheed Martin
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