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The Pentagon will underbid on F-35s again this year - because of software upgrade problems

The Pentagon will underbid on F-35s again this year - because of software upgrade problems
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The TR-3 software package modernization was supposed to take place in April of last year, but is now postponed to the third quarter of 2024.

As reported by DefenseOne, on Tuesday Lockheed Martin announced that the Pentagon will once again receive fewer new F-35s this year due to software upgrade delays. The company will deliver between 75 and 100 fighters, mostly in the second half of 2024, compared to the 147-153 announced three weeks ago, and the 96 delivered last year.

Lockheed Martin's CEO, Jim Taiclet, says the company is making "progress" in the Technology Rollout-3 upgrade, but slightly "slower than expected."

According to DefenseNews, the TR-3 updates include improved displays, computer memory, and computing power needed to prepare fighters for the upcoming Block 4 modernization wave, aimed at enhancing the aircraft's sensors and weaponry.

The TR-3 modernization was originally planned for April 2023, but faced constant delays due to integration issues. In July, Lockheed released the first aircraft with the new configuration, but as they could not pass the Ministry of Defense's test flights before delivery, the military refused to accept them.

Due to delivery delays in 2023, Lockheed's F-35 net sales fell by $400 million, which was partially offset by growth in other areas (Lockheed's aeronautics sales, for example, increased by 2% to nearly $27.5 billion).

Lockheed states that approximately 100-120 F-35s will be stored at the Fort Worth facilities by the end of the year.

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