WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp has been awarded a preliminary contract valued at up to $5.37 billion to build a ninth batch of 55 F-35 jets for the U.S. military and its allies, the U.S. Defense Department said on Tuesday.
The Pentagon's F-35 program office said it expected to finalize the terms of the contract with Lockheed, its No. 1 supplier, by the end of the year.
The department said the deal would allow Lockheed to receive $625 million in funding immediately, a move aimed at preventing major delays in production of the new stealthy fighter jets.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Bernard Orr