The aerospace giant issued a statement assuring the President-elect and national partners that the cost of the F-35 will go down.
We previously dismissed claims that Trump would cancel the F-35 here.
Jeff Babione, Executive Vice President and General Manager, F-35 Programme, Lockheed Martin, said speaking from Nevatim Air Base prior to the Israeli Air Force F-35 Delivery Ceremony:
“We welcome the opportunity to address any questions the president-elect has about the program. It’s a great program. Lockheed Martin and its industry partners understand the importance of affordability for the F-35 program.
Since the beginning, we’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce the price of the airplane more than 60% from the original LRIP. We project the price of the aircraft will be $85 million in the 2019 -2020 timeframe. When we get to $85 million, the F-35 will be less expensive than any fourth-generation fighter in the world. And it will be the premiere fifth-generation fighter. That’s an incredible value for anyone operating the airplane.
We understand it’s not just the acquisition price. Lockheed Martin and its industry partners are also investing in reducing the sustainment costs of the aircraft recognising that much of the cost of owning and operating an aircraft is after it’s delivered. We plan to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to reduce the cost of sustaining the airplane over its 30-40 year lifespan. We understand the importance of affordability and that’s what the F-35 has been about.
But more importantly, it’s the amazing technology. For the air forces that get this airplane, is not an evolution in technology, it’s a step function in capability. Whoever has it will have the most advanced air force in the world, and that’s why we’re building the F-35. That’s why it’s important that the US and our partners, like the Israeli Air Force, have this aircraft. It’s a great value and we look forward to any questions the president-elect may have.”
F-35 unit costs have been going down with each successive lot of aircraft and will continue to, the aircraft will not be cancelled.