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Lockheed (LMT) Secures $181M Contract to Aid F-35 JSF Program

Lockheed Martin Corp.’s LMT Aeronautics business unit recently secured a modification contract involving its F-35 fighter jet program. The award has been offered by the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD.

Details of the Deal

Valued at $181 million, the contract is expected to be completed by April 2028. Per the terms of the deal, Lockheed will provide ancillary mission equipment to meet Lot 17 Group Two requirements for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.

The work related to this deal will be carried out in Fort Worth, TX. The contract will serve the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and F-35 cooperative program partners.

What’s Favoring Lockheed?

Nations across the globe are reinforcing their military capabilities to strengthen their defense structure in the growing threat environment worldwide. In this context, military aircraft that play a critical role in military missions have also been witnessing a significant rise in demand.

To this end, Lockheed enjoys a solid demand for its F-35 program, which is the most lethal fighter jet in the world and delivers unrivaled advantage to its customers. Equipped with advanced sensors and communications suites, it can serve across every domain — air, land, sea, space and cyber. The aircraft comes in three main variants — F-35A (conventional takeoff and landing), F-35B (short takeoff and vertical landing) and F-35C (carrier-based).

Such remarkable features make it the highest revenue-generating program of Lockheed. The company has delivered 992 F-35 airplanes to date, with 373 jets in the backlog as of Dec 31, 2023. It further expects to deliver 147-153 jets in 2024 and 156 in 2025 and beyond. With this, one can gauge the solid demand that these jets enjoy in the military aircraft market.

The latest contract is another testament to that. Such contract wins tend to boost the company’s operating results of Lockheed’s Aeronautics segment, with 64% of the segment’s 2023 net sales coming from the F-35 program.

Growth Prospects

Rising military conflicts, terrorism, border disputes, territory invasions and violations have forced nations to increase their defense spending toward procuring combat-proven aircraft to enhance their aerial security in recent times. Per a report from the Expert Market Research firm, the global military aircraft market is estimated to witness a CAGR of 5.10% in the 2024-2032 period.

Such projections indicate immense growth opportunities for prominent combat jet manufacturers like Lockheed. The company’s military jet portfolio includes the C-130 Hercules, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 Raptor, in addition to F-35 jets.

In 2023, around 40% of Lockheed’s sales came from the Aeronautics segment, which manufactures these fighter jets. The unit ended 2023 with a solid backlog of $60.16 billion.

Some other prominent defense majors involved in the manufacturing of military aircraft that are expected to gain from the military aviation market’s growth opportunities are Boeing BA, Embraer ERJ and Airbus Group EADSY.

Boeing has been solving the challenges of aerospace and defense for more than 100 years. Its Defense, Space & Security segment portfolio includes a range of combat-proven aircraft like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, P-8, C-17 Globemaster III, EA-18G and a few more.

On Feb 29, 2024, Boeing received a contract from the U.S. Navy to provide 14 P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force and three for the German Navy. In first-quarter 2024, Boeing delivered one aircraft each of the F-15, F/A-18 and P-8 models.

Embraer’s Defense & Security is a prominent player within the aerospace and defense industry of Latin America. Its product portfolio includes the A-29 Super Tucano light attack and advanced trainer and the C-390 Millennium military multi-mission aircraft.

In February 2024, Embraer signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mahindra to provide the Indian Air Force with the C-390 Millennium. In the same month, the Hungarian Air Force’s first C-390 Millennium completed its maiden flight successfully.

Airbus Group’s military aircraft consists of the A400M versatile airlifter, the C295 tactical transporter, the new-generation A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport and the Eurofighter, the most advanced swing-role fighter ever conceived. As of Mar 31, 2024, Airbus had 1,445 military aircraft in operation globally.

In 2023, eight A400M airlifters were delivered, and construction began on a new maintenance center for A400Ms of the German Air Force.

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