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The Defense Department and Lockheed Martin finalized the contracts for the sixth and seventh lots of F-35 low-rate initial production. LRIP 6, for 36 jets, has a value of $4.4 billion; LRIP 7, for 35 aircraft, is worth $3.4 billion, according to information released by the company. The contract signings took place on Sept. 27. LRIP 6 includes 23 F-35As ($103 million unit price, excluding engines), six F-35Bs ($109 million), and seven F-35Cs ($120 million). LRIP 7 includes 24 F-35As ($98 million), seven F-35Bs ($104 million), and four F-35Cs ($116 million). Signing these contracts "represents a significant milestone for the F-35 program and its path to enhanced affordability," said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin's F-35 general manager. "With each successive production lot, unit costs have declined. That's a trend we look forward to continuing as this program moves toward full-rate production and operational maturity," she said. Lockheed Martin will begin delivering LRIP 6 aircraft in the second quarter of 2014 and LRIP 7 jets in the second quarter of 2015. (See Full F-35 Buy on a Handshake Deal and Pentagon's Sept. 27 list of major contracts.)