WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp <LMT.N> was awarded an interim payment of $5.6 billion to help finance the construction of the 11th batch of 141 F-35 jets for the U.S. military and its allies, the U.S. Defense Department said on Friday.

The Pentagon expects to spend $391 billion to develop the plane and buy 2,457 jets, making the F-35 its single most expensive weapons program.

The agreement announced on Friday allows Lockheed to continue production of the F-35 jets while it finalizes the terms of the 11th contract with the Pentagon.

(Corrects number of jets to 141 from 148 in first paragraph)


(Reporting by Eric Beech and Mike Stone; Editing by Tim Ahmann)

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