Lockheed Martin press release:
The U.S. Navy’s F-35C Lightning II carrier variant has completed its Air System Critical Design Review (CDR), a significant development milestone that verifies the design maturity of the aircraft and its associated systems. The review was conducted June 18-22 at Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] in Fort Worth, and involved officials from Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, the F-35 international-participant nations and the F-35 contractor team. Completion of the CDR is a prerequisite for the F-35C to move into Low Rate Initial Production.
There has been talk of cutting the Navy’s version of the Lightning. The US Navy is the only customer for the carrier variant, as everyone else will want either the conventional version or the STOVL version. As things stand right now it sure seems like the Navy has fallen by the wayside in long-term aviation planning, and cutting the F-35C would be another nail in the coffin.