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Need to Know: IDIQ. Four letters that will keep Lockheed Martin's Greenville facility busy



Editor's note: Welcome, readers, to a new feature, 'Need to Know.' Occasionally we'll answer a question to which you don't know or fully understand the answer. Stumble across things in the Upstate that make you wonder "what's that?" Email and we'll see about finding an answer.

The term bubbled up around the time Lockheed Martin's Greenville facility received a $62 billion order for F-16s.


What's that?

I've covered places over the years that did a fair amount of military contracting. Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga., was a busy maintenance depot for aircraft, particularly F-15s. In Virginia, the newspaper I worked for covered Newport News Shipbuilding, which builds aircraft carriers and submarines for the U.S. Navy.

In all the stories I've read or edited, I'd never previously stumbled across the IDIQ acronym.

So, what does it mean?

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It is shortened from 'indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity.'

Basically, it's the U.S. government saying to a contractor, "just keep building because we have enough customers to keep you busy."

In practical terms, the $62 billion dollar figure for Greenville F-16 production is a cap. According to Leslie Farmer from the Lockheed Martin communications team, that figure covers current and potential F-16 sales to foreign customers over the next 10 years.

A 66 aircraft order from Taiwan, the largest single buyer among the 128 aircraft purchased by current customers, is worth about $8 billion. The government figures there are more countries out there with similar needs. They just don't have the delivery date yet (ID) or how many they may authorize (IQ).

Anyone who understands production knows the most efficient plan is to never stop the line. Keep your people busy and the parts flowing, smooth and regular. Long-term work is pure oxygen for the manufacturing sector.

Bottom line: Lockheed Martin Greenville has a busy decade ahead.

Follow Ryan Gilchrest on Twitter at @ryangilchrest.

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