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Lockheed Martin will deliver four F-35C Carrier Variant Lot 14 aircraft for US Navy.

| 2020

According to a contract released by the U.S. DoD (Department of Defense) on June 29, 2020, Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is awarded a $360,800,000 not-to-exceed undefinitized contract modification (P00038) to previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-firm-target contract N00019-17-C-0001. This modification provides for the procurement of four F-35C Carrier Variant Lot 14 aircraft for the Navy.
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Lockheed Martin will deliver four F 35C Carrier Variant Lot 14 aircraft for US Navy 925 001 An F-35C Lightning II, from the "Rough Raiders" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, performs touch and go landing of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). (Picture source U.S. Navy)

The F-35C Lightning II is the U.S. Navy’s first low-observable carrier-based aviation platform. The F-35 is being purchased to replace the F/A-18C/D Hornet as the carrier strike group’s primary offensive fighter for aerial defense and close air support.

The F-35C variant has larger wings and more robust landing gear than the other variants, making it suitable for catapult launches and fly-in arrestments aboard naval aircraft carriers. Its wingtips also fold to allow for more room on the carrier’s deck while deployed.

The F-35C also has the greatest internal fuel capacity of the three F-35 variants. The F-35C carries nearly 20,000 pounds of internal fuel for longer range and better persistence than any other fighter in a combat configuration. And, like the F-35B, the F-35C uses probe and drogue refueling. This allows the Navy to operate its carriers a safe distance from the threat while its fighters reach remote targets.

The F-35 has two internal weapons bays with four weapons stations. The two outboard weapon stations each can carry ordnance up to 2,500 lb (1,100 kg), or 1,500 lb (680 kg) for F-35B, while the two inboard stations carry air-to-air missiles. The F-35C has no internal gun and instead can use a Terma A/S multi-mission pod (MMP) carrying the GAU-22/A and 220 rounds; the pod is mounted on the centerline of the aircraft and shaped to reduce its radar cross-section. It can also be used for different equipment and purposes, such as electronic warfare, aerial reconnaissance, or rear-facing tactical radar.

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