Lockheed Martin delivered 134 F-35s in 2019, beating their goal of 131. Impressive, when was the last time that many fighters were built by a manufacturer in a single year? Perhaps the F-16 in the early Nineties?
Their goal is to deliver 141 in 2020. This is great news and the services need to keep these numbers up to meet the needs of their fighter fleets.
I posted the figures in the F-35 news thread, which this story would have been a better place to post, that the F-16 hit approx 230 in the middle 80s but had multiple production lines going at the time. The F-35 has three lines, US, Italy and Japan with most delivers, something like 90%, happening from the US plant.
Meeting the deliveries for the year is impressive given the spares issues that have plagued the jet the last couple of years as well as Turkey being withdrawn from the program and the switchover of some suppliers. I also remember there was a temporary halt to delivers this year due to a minor issue with fasteners.
What I would really love to see is lots of export sales. Besides for some diversity in the fleet, a reason I support the F-15EX is in total aircraft produced, the US can upgrade existing squadrons, leaving all the more space for export sales. But as we have seen far too often budgets get cut and inadequate numbers join the fleet. The average fleet age is far too high at the moment, along with a depleted fleet.
There are already plenty of export sales going on. The aircraft was sold to South Korea and Japan, which have ordered 100+ already and another 170+ orders expected shortly. Israel have ordered as have Belgium, Poland is expected soon as is Singapore.
In additional to those there are the competitions going on with Switzerland, Finland and Canada. Spain is likely to order at least a few to replace their Harrier fleet and that is all before the Middle East is approved for orders, which will likely see another 150 aircraft between the UAE and Saudi Arabia.