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Lockheed Martin contracted for F-35 flight testing and nuclear capability
by Stephen Carlson
Washington (UPI) Nov 16, 2018

The Department of Defense is awarding Lockheed Martin $349 million to provide infrastructure for laboratories and flight testing in support of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

The contract will run through March 2020 under fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funding from the three participating services and non-Defense Department participants, according to a government announcement

In a second award, Lockheed Martin is receiving $83.1 million from the Air Force for development and

testing of equipment for F-35A nuclear capability. It's known as making a aircraft "dual-capable," being able to deliver both conventional and nuclear weapons.

The development and requisite testing and certification for nuclear capability in the F-35A is expected to last until February 2024. A total of $24.6 million in Air Force fiscal 2019 research and development funds were obligated upon issue of the contract.

The Air Force plans to mount the B-61-12 nuclear gravity bomb on the F-35, thus integrating it into the air-delivered leg of the "nuclear triad" which also includes sea and land-based missiles.

The B-16-12 is the newest upgrade of the B-61 bomb, a standard weapon in the U.S. nuclear arsenal since the 1960s and currently the only nuclear gravity bomb deployed by the Air Force, though it retains a stockpile of older, larger nuclear weapons in reserve.

The B-61-12 has enhanced GPS guidance and tailfins to improve its delivery accuracy. It has a "dial-a-yield" warhead that lets its users set it for tactical strikes as low as 0.3 kilotons for battlefield use or strategic-level yields at as high as 350 kilotons, making its destructive power highly flexible depending on the mission.

The U.S. currently has a sharing agreement with NATO on nuclear weapons, including the B-61, on member nations territory. NATO members purchasing the F-35 would likely share in the nuclear capability so U.S. weapons could be carried by allied planes, though many domestic European fighter craft already have this capability due to the agreement.

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Lockheed Martin awarded $22.7B for next round of F-35s
Washington (UPI) Nov 15, 2018
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $22.7 billion contract for the next round of F-35 Lightning II stealth aircraft production for the United States and partner nations. The order, announced Wednesday by the Department of Defense, provides for the production and delivery of 106 Lot 12 F-35 aircraft for the U.S. military, including 64 F-35As for the Air Force, 26 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps and 16 F-35Cs for the Navy. Additionally, 89 F-35s for non-U.S. participants in the program - 71 F- ... read more

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