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F-35 Strike Fighter: Is a deal for 71 fighter jets imminent?

F-35 Strike Fighter: The F-35 is the Pentagon's biggest weapons program. The Pentagon is closing in on a deal with Lockheed to acquire 71 more of the strike fighters, say both sides.

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Three F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (rear to front) AF-2, AF-3 and AF-4, fly over Edwards Air Force Base. Lockheed Martin Corp. announced July 23, that it beat analysts' forecasts with a 10 percent rise in second-quarter earnings and lifted its full-year profit forecast, saying Pentagon budget cuts had not hurt as much as expected.

Darin Russell/Lockheed Martin Corp/Reuters/File

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F-35 fighter jets – two batches of them  – headline a deal between Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Pentagon that is making "good progress" toward agreement, said Lockheed's Chief Executive Marillyn Hewson on Tuesday.

Lockheed is building three models of the F-35 for the U.S. military and eight international partner countries: Britain, Australia, Canada, Norway, Turkey, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands. Israel and Japan have also ordered the jet.

After protracted and difficult discussions on the previous order of F-35 jets, Pentagon officials had hoped to reach agreement with Lockheed around mid-year on the sixth and seventh orders, valued at multiple billions of dollars.

 
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