America’s most expensive weapon ever just got a gazillion more dollars from Uncle Sam.
According to Defence News, the Department of Defence approved another $1 billion in funding to reimburse Lockheed Martin for costs incurred for F-35’s in the low rate initial production (LRIP) lot 9, or the ninth batch of planes purchased by the government.
The reimbursement comes after Lockheed Martin executives stressed in its most recent quarterly earnings call that the company would not be able to continue paying out of pocket costs for expenses from early production of the F-35.
“We continue to ask for funding recovery from the US government. To this point, they have not funded us,” Bruce Tanner, Lockheed Martin’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said during an earnings conference call.
“We will not be able to continue and have that level of cash outflow as a corporation, we simply don’t have that capacity. The Pentagon clearly knows that situation, and I’m optimistic that we’re going to get cash soon.”
The now nearly $400 billion F-35 Lightning II weapons program, was developed starting in 2001 to replace the US military’s ageing F-15, F-16, and F-18 aircraft.
And despite significant snags in developing the fifth-generation jet, the Pentagon’s top weapons supplier, posted better than expected quarterly revenue earnings and lifted its 2016 revenue and profit forecasts for a second time this year.
Sales in its aeronautics business, the company’s largest division, rose 6% in the past three months due to delivery of 14 F-35s. What’s more, Lockheed Martin has said it plans to deliver 53 F-35 jets in 2016, up from 45 a year earlier.