The United States defence industry giant Lockheed Martin Corp has been awarded a preliminary contract valued at up to USD5.37 billion to build a ninth batch of 55 F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft for the U.S. Armed Forces and its allies, the U.S. Department of Defense said on November 3.

The U.S. Department of Defense said the deal would allow Lockheed Martin to receive USD625 million in funding immediately.

The latest amount comes on top of USD698 million in advancement procurement funding already awarded to Lockheed Martin for the ninth batch of F-35 Lightning II jet.

The ninth batch includes 41 F-35A Lightning II jets for the U.S. Air Force, Norway, Israel and Japan; and 12 F-35B F-35 Lightning II aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and the British Royal Navy, as well as two F-35C Lightning II aircraft for the U.S. Navy (USN).

Lockheed Martin is developing and building three models of the new fighter jet for the U.S. military and United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Turkey, Norway, the Netherlands, Israel, Japan and South Korea.

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