Lockheed Martin expecting production expansion for F-35

An F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter takes off on a training sortie at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in this March 6, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force photo/Randy Gon/Handout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp LMT.N is expecting "additional production expansion" for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Chief Executive Marillyn Hewson said on Tuesday.

Hewson said in an earnings call she expected planned deliveries for 2016 to increase to 53 aircraft.

She said Lockheed was expecting 59 or 60 F-35 deliveries in 2017, rising to around 100 deliveries in 2018.

She added that Lockheed had achieved its goal of delivering 45 aircraft in 2015.

“This delivery level reflects our continuing ramp up in production on the program and is a 25 percent increase above prior year deliveries,” Hewson said.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Andrew Hay