[credit provider=”SAMUEL KING JR./U.S. AIR FORCE”]
Within days the Pentagon said it would sign a contract with Lockheed Martin for a fifth batch of 32 jets worth $3.8 billion.
That move could also have been spurred along when Australia followed the Canadian news with plans to buy 24 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets if it saw any more delays in the F-35 program.
On the heels of the new contract came word Monday that pilots would begin training to fly the F-35 at Eglin, AFB starting January 2013.
And that news came just before Leon Panetta himself announced Tuesday night that the freshly trained pilots can plan on duty stations at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, which will be the first F-35 overseas base in the world.
All of that is good news for Lockheed Martin and its investors who now expect profits in the high single digits following about 10 years of four per cent profits during the F-35’s development phase.
All of this comes after years of extensive efforts to recruit foreign F-35 buyers.
We wrote about that in June when Norway finally joined the list of buyers, after “an extended dialogue with the US Department of defence aimed at securing opportunities for Norwegian industry,” said the country’s ministry of defence.