DoD OKs Operational Test of Lockheed-Built F-35

DoD OKs Operational Test of Lockheed-Built F-35 - top government contractors - best government contracting eventLockheed Martin has received approval from the Defense Department to start full combat testing of its F-35 fighter aircraft, Bloomberg reported Friday.

Ellen Lord, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, cleared the plan for the fighter jet to begin operational tests after “concurring“ with the recommendation of the program manager to kick off testing in mid-November, Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, Lord's spokesman, told the publication in a statement.

The report said DoD will use the results from the combat testing to decide whether to move the F-35 program to full-production phase in 2019.

Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 program manager, said favorable test results would pave the way for a contract to begin full-rate production of up to 168 lot 13 fighter jets.

The approval came a week after Lockheed and the Pentagon finalized a potential $11.5B contract for the company to build 141 lot 11 F-35 fighter jets for the U.S. and foreign allies.

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