Lockheed Could Land $10.7B for Fort Worth-made F-35s Under Defense Plan

The Pentagon intends to ask Congress to approve $10.7 billion to buy 77 Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 jets in the fiscal year set to begin Oct. 1, according to U.S. officials.The proposal for the Defense Department's costliest program will be included Feb. 12 as part of a fiscal 2019 base defense budget plan of about $597 billion. That's the bulk of a $716 billion national security request expected from President Donald Trump, which also covers the Energy Department's nuclear weapons programs and smaller agencies.The fiscal 2019 request disclosed by the officials, who asked not to be identified before the budget is submitted to Congress, will be a victory for Lockheed, the No. 1 U.S. defense contractor: It's close to the 80 planes the Obama administration had projected for fiscal 2019 in its final report on major weapons systems two years ago. Before that, the Pentagon had reduced the number of planes projected for the year to 90 from 100.Under former President Barack Obama, the rate of anticipated F-35 production was reduced both because of the fighter's persistent technical problems and constraints on Defense Department funding. The F-35 is expected to end its 16-year-old development phase this year.  Continue reading...

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