Lockheed projects it will miss F-35 2020 production target by 18-24 jets

By Courtney Albon / May 20, 2020 at 11:17 AM

Lockheed Martin expects to fall about 18 to 24 aircraft short of its goal to deliver 141 F-35s in 2020 -- a shortfall driven by COVID-19.

In a statement this week, company spokesman Brett Ashworth said Lockheed will work to mitigate the production slow-down and expects it will return to a pre-COVID-19 pace in the fall.

"We will accelerate production when we return to pre-COVID-19 conditions and could see this number decrease," Ashworth said.

He added that the company is doing what it can to be proactive in mitigating supplier delays and is working with the F-35 joint program office to taper its production rate over the next three months and temporarily adjust its work schedule for production line workers at its Fort Worth, TX, facility.

"The program is working with customers to continue critical support for national security services, while ensuring its highly skilled and essential workforce remains intact," Ashworth said.

In a separate statement issued May 19, the company said the new alternate work schedule will take effect May 23 and could continue as long as Sept. 4.

"The alternate schedule allows Lockheed Martin to staff the production line to meet a slower workflow resulting from supplier delays," the company said in the statement. "In addition, it provides a work rhythm that retains the expertise of the talented workforce and provides opportunities to adjust work to better support production."