WASHINGTON Dec 28 Lockheed Martin Corp
and the U.S. Defense Department have reached an agreement
freeing up preliminary funding for production of a sixth batch
of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, according to two sources familiar
with the negotiations.
Details of the agreement will be worked out between the two
sides in coming months, the sources said.
The Defense Department two weeks ago finalized an agreement
with Lockheed for a fifth batch of planes, a $3.8 billion deal
to buy 32 of the advanced, radar-evading aircraft.
At the time, company executives and defense officials said
they expected to reach an agreement on early funding for the
next group of planes by the end of the year.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the costliest weapons
program in U.S. history.