A record year: Lockheed Martin delivers 142 F-35s in 2021, 750 in total
As of January 2022, a total of 750 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets have been delivered to customers.
Of these, 142 were delivered in 2021, which marks the program’s most successful year yet.
In mid-2020 the manufacturer said the goal was to deliver up to 139 jets. However, the goal was exceeded.
121 F-35s were delivered in 2020, and 134 in 2019. During the last three years, more than half of the world’s entire fleet of the model was delivered, highlighting the rapid increase in the jet’s production.
According to a Lockheed Martin press release, the operational capability of the jet also reached a record high in 2021, with some exercises demonstrating over 80% mission-capable rates.
"Providing unparalleled support to the growing fleet, participating in numerous Joint-All Domain exercises and meeting our delivery target during a global pandemic is no small feat,” Bridget Lauderdale, vice president and general manager of the program, is quoted in the release.
In 2021 the F-35A was also selected by Switzerland and Finland for their fighter jet procurement programs. While the Swiss selection process is currently under review by the nation’s parliament, Finland has confirmed its choice, and is on track to order the jet.
But 2021 also had some downsides for the F-35. The United Arab Emirates receieved confirmation of its F-35 order during the last hours of the Trump administration, but the order was adversely affected by discussions and disagreements between the US and Israel, both of which opposed the purchase. Finally, in mid-December 2021, the UAE revealed that the talks would be suspended.
However, the F-35 remains in the running for Canada’s fighter jet procurement program, where it will go head-to-head the Swedish Saab JAS 39 Gripen.
The manufacturer has also made plans to beat its record in 2022, delivering 196 jets, which will push the grand total of F-35s in service across the globe to over 900.
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