Reuters: Lockheed Aims to Deliver All 36 F-35 Jets in 2013, Sees Progress on Program

According to statements from the F-35 program manager Lorraine Martin last week, Lockheed intends to deliver the final seven of 36 F-35 Lightning II jets to the U.S. government by the end of 2013. Martin delivered the news during a ceremony at Lockheed’s Fort Worth, Texas facility to mark the 100th F-35 to come out of production, an aircraft bound for Luke Air Force Base.

Luke was chosen earlier this year to be the training facility for F-35 pilots, and officials expect training to begin in May 2015.

From the Reuters coverage:

Martin told reporters that 2014 would be another key year for the program, with the Navy’s C-model due to carry out sea trials on an aircraft carrier next summer, the first jet to be completed at a new assembly plant in Italy, and the first jet for Australia to be delivered.

Speaking in Washington, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh underscored the importance of the F-35 to ensure U.S. air superiority and said current “legacy” fighters would not survive a future fight against stealthy next-generation fighters being developed by Russia and China.

“Operationally, we need the F-35 … This is not a good time to walk away from the F-35 program in any way, shape or form,” he told a Pentagon briefing. He said truncating the F-35 program would raise the cost of the remaining jets.

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