Lockheed Martin Delivers 123 F-35s in 2020 Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

Lockheed Martin Delivers 123 F-35s in 2020 Despite COVID-19 Pandemic
A U.S Air Force Airman assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, stands ready to direct an F-35A aircraft for taxi and takeoff at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain June 10, 2019, to participate in the Tactical Leadership Program flying course. This course is attended by various NATO allied nations and provides an opportunity to integrate tactics, techniques, and procedures to strengthen coalition forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Evan Parker)

Lockheed Martin delivered 123 F-35s to the U.S. military and international customers in 2020, missing its initial 141-aircraft goal for the year but meeting its revised target.

The 123rd aircraft is an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, built at the Cameri, Italy, Final Assembly and Checkout (FACO) facility and delivered to the Italian Air Force.

In 2020, 74 F-35s were delivered to the United States military, 31 to international partner nations, and 18 to foreign military sales customers.

In response to COVID-19 related supplier delays, in May the initial annual delivery goal was revised from 141 to 117-to-123 aircraft to strategically avoid surging, which would increase production-related costs and create future delays and disruption.

“The F-35 joint enterprise team rapidly responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to deliver the unmatched combat capability the F-35 brings to the warfighter,” said Bill Brotherton, acting vice president and general manager of the F-35 program.

“Achieving this milestone amid a global pandemic is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team and their commitment to our customers’ missions.”

Lockheed Martin took proactive measures to mitigate COVID-19 supplier impacts and position the program for the fastest possible recovery by adjusting employee work schedules, maintaining specialized employee skillsets, and providing accelerated payments to small and vulnerable suppliers. Lockheed Martin provided accelerated payments to more than 400 F-35 suppliers in 45 states and Puerto Rico.

Though COVID-19 will have short-term impacts on production, the F-35 program continues to work diligently and is on track to meet the joint government and industry recovery commitments over the coming years.

More than 600 F-35 aircraft operate from 26 bases and ships around the globe. Nine nations have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil, nine services have declared initial operational capability, and six services have employed F-35s in combat operations.

More than 1,200 pilots and 10,000 maintainers are trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 350,000 cumulative flight hours. The United States Air Force deployed the F-35 for 18 consecutive months from April 2019 until October 2020 in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility with hundreds of weapons employments in support of U.S. service members and their allies.

The year also included the initial fielding of the Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN), the follow-on to the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), with excellent initial results. The system will be fully operational in 2022.

Mission capable rates for the aircraft continued to improve in 2020 with rates greater than 70% across the fleet, and even higher for deployed units. The F-35 also participated in Joint All-Domain Operations with multiple exercises that highlighted the aircraft’s ability to gather, interpret, and share information with various platforms.

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