F-35 fighter production rebaseline agreed

The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have agreed on an F-35 production rebaseline to recover from an aircraft shortfall following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a September 27 release, Lockheed Martin stated that it is scheduled to deliver 133-139 aircraft this year, 151-153 aircraft in 2022 and anticipated delivering 156 aircraft beginning in 2023 and “for the foreseeable future.”

F-35 fighter
Lockheed Martin has revised its F-35 production timeline following impact on the programme as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. USAF/Airman 1st Class Heather Leveille

During a July webcast detailing Lockheed Martin’s 2021 first-half performance, officials said that it was “highly likely” that deliveries of the F-35 in 2022 would fall short of the planned 169 but would “not be less” than the total handovers for 2021.

So far, more than 700 F-35 aircraft have been delivered to operators around the world, with Switzerland likely becoming the latest country to sign up for the type following its decision in June to opt for the fifth-generation fighter. 

The type is also a contender in Finland’s future fighter requirement, with ongoing legacy combat air platform replacement programmes in the Czech Republic and Greece likely of interest.