The agreement covers 470 new F-35 jets over three separate contracts, known as Lots 12-14.

The agreement, once finalised, will represent the largest F-35 production contract and the lowest aircraft prices in programme history.

The final contract will cover all Lot 12 aircraft, with priced options for Lots 13 and 14, say Lockheed Martin.

The unit price for all three F-35 variants was reduced on average 15% from Lot 11 to 14, and the agreement includes an F-35A unit cost below $80 million in Lot 13.

“This is a truly historic milestone for the F-35 Enterprise. The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin team have come to agreement on this landmark three-lot deal that achieves an average ~15% unit cost reduction and results in a less than $80M F35A in Lot 13 – one year earlier than planned,” said Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer.

“This ~$34B agreement marks the largest procurement in the history of the Department and provides a best value for our warfighter and taxpayer, incentivizes industry to continuously improve their performance and achieves the lowest F-35 unit prices per aircraft to date.”

“With smart acquisition strategies and a relentless focus on cost reduction, the F-35 enterprise has successfully reduced procurement costs of the 5th Generation F-35 to equal or less than 4th Generation legacy aircraft,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program.

“Beating our long-stated goal and delivering an F-35A below $80 million in Lot 13 is a testament to our joint government and industry team – and we look forward to working with the Joint Program Office to finalize the agreement.”

48
Leave a Reply

avatar
8 Comment threads
40 Thread replies
17 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
17 Comment authors
Nigel CollinsHeropkcasimirDaveyBGandalf Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Gandalf
Guest
Gandalf

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/06/12/the-pentagon-is-battling-the-clock-to-fix-serious-unreported-f-35-problems/
Heads need to roll. This is the most expensive program to date, and saying they won’t fix the supersonic issue is unacceptable. If you pay top dollar you should get top quality.
Really reafirms my belief that a naval typhoon was the best choice. Also would have focused efforts in moderninizing the typhoon. Still no aesa radar in 2019!!!

DaveS
Guest
DaveS

You beat me to the punch posting this by 4 seconds Gandalf! Personally I’m a fan of the F-35 and I think long term it’ll be an astounding asset…. but not if the comment that the potential structural issues beyond 1.2mach “will not be fixed, as they are considered to have extremely low probability of occurring during operations” – thats exceedingly worrying and needs addressing
before any further orders are placed.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

A very interesting post in relation to potential future costs. “Substantial additional costs for foreign partners. Because of the way the program is structured, the six foreign partners can expect to pay hefty additional costs for the C2D2 upgrade. Winter said development costs will be shared with U.S. allies, leaving the Department of Defense on the hook for $7.2 billion, Flight International reported March 8, meaning that partner nations will have to cough up an additional $3.8 billion. In a Dec. 19 report, the House of Commons Defence Committee wrote (p. 23) that “Lockheed Martin also informed the Committee that… Read more »

Watcherzero
Guest
Watcherzero

The whole way this contract is structured with countries having to “buy in” at a rate of several billion dollars before they can then buy units at the supposed list price is all smoke and mirrors to separate out the programme development costs and on going modernisation costs. Most other aircraft the headline unit price includes recuperation of the development costs and will gradually fall on follow on orders after the R&D is amortised over the first few hundred units.

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@Nigel Collins – You always reproduce this when the F-35 is mentioned and label it as a catastrophic sum of money. So I had a look at the numbers in that report. And forgive me if I don’t take the inflated numbers by unnamed ‘experts’ so lets take the $11 Bn (£8.5 Bn) mentioned by the House Armed Services (HASC). We then have the House of Commons Defence Committee figures testified by LM for UK liability @ 4.5% of that figure. Or $495 Mn (£380 Mn) spread out to 2024. Or $99 Mn (£76 Mn) a year. I have to… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

I have used this as an example in the past Chris H, But not always. But like some people, I do have my concerns in relation to the F-35!
F35-A first flight 15 December 2006
F35-B first flight 11 June 2008
It will not be able to use its full complement of weapons including Meteor until 2024/26
https://www.defensenews.com/air/

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@Nigel Collins – well you are right to be concerned and I share your concerns about the delays (and costs) but you have to understand that priority in the ‘B’ variant was given to the USMC as we a) had to spread the cost due to our economy in a near fatal condition in 2010, b) the further down the LRIP buy the less our costs and c) we are buying to match our carrier delivery dates. And as for Meteor I would point out that Typhoon is already fully capable on all weapons including Meteor and F-35B already has… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

I’m pleased you share my concerns Chris H, as I believe them to be valid. After all, Why waste money on purchasing 138 F-35 which will not be delivered until at least the 2030s, when we are already developing Tempest as our aircraft for the future? It would make far more sense to develop a navalised version of Tempest from the start given EMALS will be fixed by the mid-twenties, and increase the number of Typhoons with future upgrades. The typhoon could also serve as a testbed for Tempests advanced hardware and software. 48F35-Bs should be the maximum amount purchased,… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

As my comment above suggests a navalised version of Tempest, I see no reason why not.

“One of its manufacturers, BAE Systems, who also built the F-35B have outlined what key features will be in the Tempest.”
https://www.forces.net/news/tempest-what-will-future-fighter-give-raf

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@Nigel Collins – I think I am on record as saying I doubt we will buy 138 F-35s of any description given we are committing to Tempest for delivery in the 2035 on timeframe. The interesting discussion then takes place between the UK and US Government about our workshare if we do not buy 138 and who gets the work BAE etc currently get. I think that is worth an article on its own! However I should also repeat that I believe the F-35B we are buying is exactly the right aircraft at the right time especially given the benefit… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

“The interesting discussion then takes place between the UK and US Government about our workshare if we do not buy 138 and who gets the work BAE etc currently get.”
Could a possible answer be found here? Providing we can install EMALS earlier than 2030.
“Super Hornets find place in stealth fighter generation”
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-super-hornets-find-place-in-stealth-fighte-457459/

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@Nigel Collins – Without too much thought I can see 4 main reasons not to buy the F-18 in any guise: 1. Its a 30 year old design and despite upgrades is still ‘old architecture’. 2. Buying the F-18 would not benefit any British companies, it would export jobs to the USA and fundamentally undermine British fighter manufacturing just when we need to be supporting it. 3. If we were able to procure a viable EMALS system some years before Tempest is available then we would buy F-35C as part of our 138 commitment. 4. Even if EMALS is viable… Read more »

TwinTiger
Guest
TwinTiger

The author has only collated and rehashed all of the articles over the past 5 years on F-35 issues and re-dated it, for example a reduction in deficiencies was recorded as of 24 May 2018, whilst the sovereignty issue was brought up by Australia in 2017 and they have already instigated an interim fix, the ALIS issue is being finally resolved through the Top Hatter system. The heat issues for the skin of the ‘B’s and ‘C’s was originally identified in 2011 and resolved in Lot 8. All this is in the reports and linked articles! Overall verdict: nothing new… Read more »

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

I quite agree with you (and others). A lot of ignorant and prejudicial rubbish is said about this.

MattW
Guest
MattW

The more news that appears relating to this flying money pit the more I do wonder if we should have cut our losses and run, thrown the rest of the budget at Typhoon for now until our own next gen fighter Tempest is ready. Ive never had love for the F35 but this is now getting ridiculous.

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@Gandalf – I guess you didn’t watch the video at the end of the article? Basically of the alleged 17 ‘issues’ none are ‘Cat 1A’ or lethal. 9 will be downgraded or eliminated by the time it gets to FRP. Of the remaining 8, 6 will be fully rectified and 2 are considered ‘unlikely’ to occur. For example the alleged coating issues on ‘B’ and ‘C’ versions at Mach 1.3? Only ever happened once each and then it was back in 2011. Different coatings are now used. This aircraft is in final stages of development and while issues are identified… Read more »

Gandalf
Guest
Gandalf

Sorry but the coatings are mere band aid, and the person who made that comment in the article would not say how well this worked, or how long. He just made some banal statement about materials would improve in the future. Blah blah. The reason this program gets criticized, fairly imo, it is decades behind schedule, budgets have ballooned and total ownership costs are still very sketchy. This is from GAO not from russian trolls. This was supposed to be the best of the best and it has not delivered anything more than a low observable stealth bomber from the… Read more »

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@ Gandalf – Quote: “If this program was led by Russia or China you would probably be the first to berate it. My 2 cents” That is presumption beyond your knowledge mate and I defy you or anyone else to show where I have ever slagged off any other military equipment. The costs of it or delays then yes but its not my style I’m afraid. Now as it happens I agree with you on the delays to the F-35 project but then practically EVERY military project has delays and issues and cost increases. It goes with the territory (sadly).… Read more »

Tim
Guest
Tim

The Uk will be crazy to take delivery of any more JSF until the above problems are fixed. This plane has been flying for over a decade and pilots training on it since 2012 and somehow these issues just come out ? The stealth is destroyed if the pilot operates above Mach 1.2 for a minute etc etc etc

No matter what we think of the radar , stealth and sensors it’s obviously a mess in terms of basic jet fighter performance and reliability.

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

“Really reafirms my belief that a naval typhoon was the best choice.” Navalised Typhoon was never a goer. The undercarriage and centre fuselage would have needed a complete re-design. And at that point you may as well start again. The canards were also in the perfect spot to reduce the pilots visibility on landing to zero….which on a carrier is a very bad idea. BAE’s proposal’s were torn to shreds by the defence select committee. Technically it was impossible. So much so that BAE actually posited having RB.211’s on the stern of the carrier generating enough air circulation for the… Read more »

Rob Collinson
Guest
Rob Collinson

How many UK aircraft are covered by Lots 11-14?

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

As usual we have the anti – F-35 crew on board again peddling their negatives without offering realistic alternatives. So lets get a reality check: 1. A Naval Typhoon was never ever going to happen. Any Naval airframe has to be designed to handle the explosive forces of a deck / CATOBAR landing. Typhoon was not so designed to add to its other capabilities. Had the French remained in the consortium it would have been. Such a Typhoon would also have required CATOBAR and the attendant EMALS / EMCATS systems. A costly negative 2. As a country we have developed… Read more »

Hero
Guest
Hero

We have 17 F35’s and @ 100 flying Typhoons.

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@Hero – Forgive me being direct but why are you playing semantics and differentiating from overall numbers? Do we or do we not have a military budget (as in forecast need) for 138 F-35B aircraft? And why are you ignoring the total Typhoon fleet as ordered and separating out ‘flying’ aircraft? At any one time any Air Force will have operational aircraft, aircraft under maintenance, airframes under major refit and stored aircraft. The final Typhoons of that 160 aircraft order have yet to be delivered and the official tail count is currently 157. Of that some 16 of the 22… Read more »

Hero
Guest
Hero

Christ Mate…… I’m only stating True Facts and Figures……….. What’s with the Condescending and somewhat Aggressive reply ? We will never have 138 F35’s or 160 Typhoons at any one time. Sorry If I have upset your Superior UKDJ Standing.

Hero
Guest
Hero

You Stated, “On just nominal numbers alone, we have 138 F35’s and 160 Typhoons” …….. Ermm sorry but You are Totally Wrong…… Might want to lose your attitude and say sorry ….. Doubt you will though.

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@Hero – I see you conflate a robust answer (preceded with the words ‘please forgive me’ which most people would consider polite) with some sort of “Condescending and somewhat Aggressive reply” Blimey don’t ever join the Forces … You then add: “Sorry If I have upset your Superior UKDJ Standing” I have the same standing here as you do. So your point was exactly? And then: “Might want to lose your attitude and say sorry What ‘attitude’ is that then? I made a robust reply to your rather pedantic and picky comment where you seemed to deliberately miss the point… Read more »

Geoffrey Hicking
Guest
Geoffrey Hicking

I apologise for bothering you with an unrelated question, but I wondered if you knew whether convoys were considered useful in modern warfare. It is true the UK does not have enough ships to escort convoys (be it military or civilian), but I used to imagine that we could contribute ships to US managed convoys if necessary (not that this might be necessary given the 1980s decision to concentrate assets in the GIUK gap to bottle up the soviets- a 1914-1917-esque offensive anti-submarine strategy backed with modern SOSUS). Humph of the Thin Pinstriped Line seemed to blow the idea of… Read more »

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@Geoffrey Hicking – While detecting a slight whiff of sarcasm I am more than happy to say I have absolutely no idea. You seem to have a far better handle on convoys than I do…
And as for fantasy fleet comments? Nowt wrong with some creative thinking IMHO.

Geoffrey Hicking
Guest
Geoffrey Hicking

I wasn’t meaning to be sarcastic. I just wanted to make clear upfront that I am aware of my severe shortcomings as an amateur with an interest in the military.

Nonetheless, thankyou for your response.

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@Geoffrey Hicking – don’t be so hard on yourself. Creative thinking is always welcome and will often trigger interesting discussions. Just remember my friend there is no such thing as a daft question – just daft answers… Enjoy this site: Its well worth the effort of joining in…

Hero
Guest
Hero

Toys nicely packed back away in you pram, I see.

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

Yes, its true the US Navy wants to increase its available aviation assets by using the Marine assault carriers as light carriers. This has a lot to do with the current issues with USS Gerald R Ford, which can only currently launch F18s, not F35Cs from its EMALS catapults. There are no plans to fit ramps to the ships bows, so they wil have a deficit in range/weapons compared to the QE class. But they are going to be using their V22s for aerial tankers. It’s funny how the UK company developing EMCAT, an alternative to EMALS, was bought out… Read more »

Hero
Guest
Hero

Apology accepted….. Not sure where you have received “Repeatedly dished out stuff ” from me though….. are you confused or just argumentative and naturally paranoid/schizophrenic by nature due to your PTS having served your time here as some sort of keyboard hero ….. Try losing the attitude mate, it’s OK to be wrong every now and then, you don’t have to be so sarcastic/defensive when someone corrects you on actual facts and figures.

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@hero – My apology stands even if you are too far up your own arse to accept it in good grace and move on but rather preferred to use it to project even more abusive images. Whatever. Given you have offered nothing BUT personal abuse and failed to address the discussion point other than a clickbait one liner I will let others reading this and seeing the stream of personally abusive projections from you judge who has the ‘attitude’ here. I fear you confuse me with someone who gives a rats arse what Trolls like you peddle. You were right… Read more »

Hero
Guest
Hero

Fucking crying here…

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Some progress is at least being made with EMALS.
Seven years from now? I think the smart play will be investing in a Navallised version of Tempest from the start!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qahWEhrDfg

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@Nigel Collins – I did touch on this elsewhere and you are of course right. We missed a trick with Typhoon thats for sure (we should have thieved the French work on Rafale M!) as had CATOBAR been engineered in from Day One the added costs would have been minimal and while all the airframes would have had to be of that (heavier) design what became the current undercarriage could still have been used for non Naval aircraft. I recognise I am simplifying a complex subject but I hope I make my point. And I would be very surprised if… Read more »

The artist formerly known as Los Pollos chicken
Guest
The artist formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

It’s funny the A-10 and AH64 were both slated , hated ,criticised when they first appeared and suffered their fair share of issues in troubled starts however both are now accepted as being successful. The A-10 alone is credited with half the 1700 Iraqi tank kills from the air in gulf war 1 and the Apache is widely accepted as the premier de la premier tank killer of today. Even in 1976 there were dudes sitting on sofas in their living rooms telling anyone who would listen that A-10 is 💩 buy F-16’s instead……so I’ve no doubt the F-35 will… Read more »

Martin
Guest
Martin

With all the problems with the F35C and the Ford class the QE class could easily become the worlds most powerful and capable aircraft carrier.

We just need to buy aircraft for it.

It’s also not surprising that Pilots are being asked to limit travelling above Mach 1.2 to protect stealth coatings. Given its primary role as a stealthy strike aircraft travelling above Mach 1 is something to be avoided anyway as sonic booms are easier to track than radar emissions.

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

Sorry Martin, but you can detect radar a significantly further than a sonic boom, irrespective of the aircraft’s height. A sonic boom will travel through the atmosphere near to 650mph depending on temperature, humidity and altitude. A radio wave will travel near light speed, again depending on frequency and atmospherics. Therefore, in one second a radio wave would have travelled nearly 300,000Km whilst a sound wave would have travelled only 346 metres. There are two types of radar generally fitted an aircraft primary and secondary. A primary radar like the Typhoon’s Captor requires the emitted wave to be reflected of… Read more »

pkcasimir
Guest
pkcasimir

Reality Check. Here is Lockheed Martin’s response to the Defense News June 12 article on the F-35.
https://f35.com/news/detail/lockheed-martin-comments-on-defense-news-reporting

Gandalf
Guest
Gandalf

What else did you expect to hear from LM? Nothing to see here move along, so i will take LM’s reassurances with a grain of salt.
unfortunately the GAO does not agree with the assessment that all is fixed or soon to be, and this GAO report is from late april 2019. In fact GAO recommends that upgrade 4 not start until prior issues are actually resolved https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-19-341

pkcasimir
Guest
pkcasimir

Move along yourself. LM’s assurances have been approved by the PMO who knows a lot more about it than you, the GAO or some snowflake reporter who doesn’t know a flap from a rudder. The GAO can huff and puff all it wants but no one takes them seriously in DC except leftist journalists.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

“F-35 jets: Chinese-owned company making parts for top-secret UK-US fighters”

“Describing its involvement in the aircraft programme, the MoD publication said: “Gloucestershire-based Exception PCB manufacture the circuit boards that control many of the F-35’s core capabilities.”

https://news.sky.com/story/f-35-jets-chinese-owned-company-making-parts-for-top-secret-uk-us-fighters-11741889

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Interesting to see how the Defence Committee views our future air combat capability. I’m sure some will find it very interesting! Hopefully, Taranis will have the power to take off and land on the QE carriers? I wonder what will change when the next government takes office? “13. This DPOC OR is a possible contender for a move in the direction of UCAV. Work is being carried out by BAE Systems with the Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicles (Experiment) Integrated Project Team (SUAV(E) IPT) responsible for auditing and overseeing the “Taranis” project. However, this 18,000 lb (Hawk sized) £143 million development… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Another interesting piece on costings can be found via the link below under the section Hidden Costs. “We understand that the Lot-by-Lot procurement process for the aircraft, allied with the separate processes for procuring parts and spares and logistical support, make it difficult to calculate the total cost whether on a per-aircraft or on a programme-as-a-whole basis. However, it is simply not acceptable for the Ministry of Defence to refuse to disclose to Parliament and the public its estimates for the total cost of the programme, and to suggest instead that we must wait until the mid-2030s (when all 138… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins