Lockheed Martin Wins $62M to Supply Parachute Systems for F-35 Jets

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Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract worth $62 million to supply Parachute and drag chute systems meant to go on the F-35 lighting II fighter jets.

The company also won an additional $37 million contract. This modification adds scope to procure special tooling and test equipment for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter production line in support of second source canopy tooling and other known capacity gaps for the Navy, Marines, Air Force and non-Department of Defense (DOD) participants.

The $62 million order aims procures 190 parachutes and 56 drag chute systems for non- Department of Defense (DOD) participants and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers, a U.S. DoD release today said.

F-35A jets have a small, aerodynamic pod housed on the upper surface between the canted vertical stabilizers. The system is designed as a wing pylon so that the pod can be installed and removed with minimal time and effort. The pod contains the drag chute system that rapidly decelerates the F-35s after landing on the country’s short, icy runways. The pod is specifically designed to minimize effect on radar cross section and ensure the aircraft maintains stealth characteristics while flying.

Akin to the conventional parachute, the F-35 drag chute system is a device used to slow the motion of the F-35A and provide control and stability for pilots. The chute creates aerodynamic drag also known as air resistance. The F-35A drag chute uses the force of wind pushing in the opposite direction of the motion of the aircraft to safely land on short, wet and icy runways.

To deploy the chute, the pilot flips a switch up on the upper left side of the instrument panel. The switch activates hydraulic actuators that open the pod to release a Kevlar parachute. Once the aircraft is slowed sufficiently, the pilot flips the same switch down to release the drag chute as the aircraft comes to a stop.