Rheinmetall has won a US$6.5 million (6.2 € million) contract from the US Air Force to supply ammunition for the F-35 stealth multirole fighter.
The contract encompasses the supply of several ten thousand rounds in four lots. Delivery starts in December 2017, the company announced today.
The order is of major strategic significance to Rheinmetall for two reasons. For one thing, the US Air Force is currently procuring the F-35 on a large scale, with 1,200 planes on order. Numerous other nations have opted for the new aircraft as well, among them Denmark, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Turkey and Japan.
The ammunition selected – the new 25mm x 137 Frangible Armour Piercing (FAP), was specifically developed by Rheinmetall for, and in conjunction with, NATO air forces to provide the F-35 with superior lethality against modern Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) at extreme slant ranges while still remaining deadly against enemy aircraft in air-to-air engagements. The 25mm x 137 FAP is an all-purpose cartridge that is already in service with the F-35s of two NATO nations.
Manufacture of the ammunition for the US Air Force will take place at Rheinmetall Switzerland. Rheinmetall intends to have the ammunition of possible follow-up contracts assembled in the USA by Rheinmetall Day & Zimmermann Munitions (RDZM), a joint venture that operates out of Rosslyn, Virginia.