WASHINGTON, July 29 Lockheed Martin Corp
and the Pentagon reached agreement on Monday on orders for the
next two batches of F-35 fighter jets, a deal worth over $7
billion, according to a source briefed on the discussions.
The deal covers 71 of the radar-evading planes, with 36 jets
to be purchased in the sixth production lot, and 35 in the
seventh. The agreement was negotiated without factoring
across-the-board budget cuts imposed on the Pentagon in March,
said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
A second source familiar with the negotiations said Pentagon
acquisition chief Frank Kendall had approved the broad outlines
of the deal, which includes further reductions in the cost of
the planes. The source had no immediate details on the cost per
plane. The government negotiates separately with Pratt &
Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, for the
plane's engines. Those talks are also expected to wrap up soon.
Lockheed is building three models of the F-35 for the U.S.
military and eight international partner countries: Britain,
Australia, Canada, Norway, Turkey, Italy, Denmark and the
Netherlands. Israel and Japan have also ordered the jet.