The U.S. Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin $1.8 Billion for the second phase of the F-35 Lightning II Block 4 pre-modernization program for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps; and non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants.
According to Lockheed Martin, underpinning the F-35’s capabilities is more than 8 million lines of software code. From flight controls to fusing together the F-35’s sensor data to form a clear and comprehensive picture of the battlespace, software is essential.
F-35 Block 4 comprises more than 50 improvements to counter both air- and ground-based threats emerging from China and Russia. These enhancements increase F-35 pilots’ recognition and detection ranges, enabling greater overall targeting performance. Some source reported that the Block 4 upgrades will be “80 percent” software.
The pre-modernization funding, announced Friday by the Department of Defense, will go toward design work, determining requirements and reviews of how well updates and weapons technology are being integrated by participants and partners in the future F-35 Block 4 incremental software modernization program.
The F-35’s family is comprised of three aircraft variants. The Air Force’s F-35A variant will complement its F-22A fleet and is expected to replace the air-to-ground attack capabilities of the F-16 and A-10. The Marine Corps’ F-35B variant will replace its F/A-18 and AV-8B aircraft. The Navy’s F-35C variant will complement its F/A-18E/F aircraft.
The Department of Defense also noted that this contract combines purchases for the Air Force ($732,460,990; 40.50 percent); Navy ($371,475,278; 20.54 percent), Marine Corps ($345,974,784; 19.13 percent) and non-U.S. DoD participants ($358,634,603; 19.83 percent).
Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in August 2026.