CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), was awarded a $23.6 million contract by Lockheed Martin Corp. for production of more than two dozen GAU-22/A gun systems for the F-35 Lightning II. The GAU-22/A is a derivative of General Dynamics' proven GAU-12/U 25mm Gatling gun, which the company has produced for more than 40 years. The GAU-22/A is a lighter-weight, four-barrel version with improved accuracy over the GAU-12/U. General Dynamics has been manufacturing GAU-22/A guns for F-35 aircraft since 2009. "The GAU-22/A's reliability lends a significant advantage in lower aircraft maintenance costs, while the gun's high rate of fire and increased range bring air superiority in tactical air-to-air and air-to-ground combat situations," said Steve Elgin, vice president and general manager of armament systems for General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products. The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, is a fifth-generation multirole fighter used by all branches of the U.S. military and U.S. allies. An internally mounted GAU-22/A gun system will arm the conventional take-off and landing variant (F-35A), while externally mounted gun systems will be used by the short take-off and vertical landing variant (F-35B) and carrier version (F-35C) of the aircraft. Production will begin in 2012 at General Dynamics' facility in Saco, Maine, which employs more than 400 people. Program management and engineering will be performed at the General Dynamics Technology Center in Williston, Vt. In addition to producing the GAU-22/A, General Dynamics' facility in Marion, Va., supplies advanced, lightweight composite radomes for the F-35 aircraft. General Dynamics' Marion facility employs over 450 people. For more information about General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, please visit www.gdatp.com. More information about General Dynamics is available online at www.generaldynamics.com.