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Iran Press TV

Pentagon to buy 404 Lockheed F-35 jets: Sources

Iran Press TV

Sat Feb 6, 2016 1:40AM

The US Defense Department will buy 404 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets during the next five years, according to sources familiar with the plan.

The purchase will be equal to approximately $40 billion in new revenue for Lockheed, which is the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier, and engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, Reuters quoted the sources as saying on Friday.

The Pentagon will disclose the revised procurement numbers on Tuesday, the day when it also issues its fiscal 2017 budget as well as the new five-year plan.

According to the plan, the Air Force will buy 243 F-35 jets through fiscal 2021, which is 45 fewer than what was decided since the service juggles funds to pay the cost of a new long-range bomber which will be built by Northrop Grumman Corp as well as KC-46A refueling planes which Boeing Co will build.

Also, the Navy and Marine Corps will buy 64 F-35C jets, which are capable of taking off and landing on aircraft carriers, over the next five years. In addition, the services will purchase 97 F-35B jets, which are able to land like a helicopter.

The plan would mean a net drop of 5 to 7 percent from that of 2015, a change in the Pentagon's plan for the $391 billion weapons program.

The plan defers orders for 45 Air Force jets in comparison with that of last year, but it speeds up orders for the Navy and Marine Corps models of the aircraft, according to the sources.

The Pentagon still has its plan to purchase a total of 2,457 jets for all three military services in following years, they noted.

However, the plan excludes the approximate number of 260 international F-35 orders over the five-year period, the sources added.

They said that those orders might increase even more over the period considering potential orders from some countries including Finland, Denmark, Belgium and Singapore.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said this week that the department plans to buy 13 more F-35 fighter jets for the Navy and Marine Corps than planned in 2015, but he did not give details on the total number of jets.

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