The Pentagon will request 34 Lockheed Martin F-35 jets in its budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, eight fewer than previously planned, according to officials.
The fiscal 2015 request, to be released March 4, will include funds to buy 26 of the Air Force’s model, six of the Marine Corps’ short-takeoff and vertical-
landing jets and two of the Navy’s version for aircraft carriers, according to officials familiar with the plans, who asked not to be identified because the budget hasn’t been made public.
Even with the decrease from past plans, the defense budget reflects pledges by officials to do all they could to insulate the costliest U.S. weapons program from federal budget cuts. Marillyn Hewson, chairman and chief executive of Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed, predicted in a Feb. 10 interview that the company’s F-35 program is “going to continue to grow and become a larger part of our portfolio.”