UPDATE 3-Pentagon, Lockheed agree deal for 32 more F-35 fighters
* Deal valued at around $3.8 billion
* Agreement on fifth batch of fighters paves way for sixth
* Lockheed shares up slightly
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp and the U.S. Defense Department have reached an agreement in principle on a fifth batch of 32 additional F-35 fighter planes, the Pentagon said on Friday, bringing nearly a year of negotiations to a close.
The deal is valued at around $3.8 billion, although the two sides are still finalizing details, according to a source familiar with the agreement.
The agreement will also pave the way for talks about preliminary funding for a sixth batch of aircraft that Lockheed, the Pentagon's largest supplier, has been building at its own cost for some time.
Lockheed shares closed 0.3 percent higher at $93.30, outperforming the Arca Defense Index, which was down 0.53 percent.
Pentagon spokesman George Little said details on the cost per aircraft would be released once the final contract is signed. Continued...