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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.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Doesn’t matter really, rightly or wrongly LM created badly needed manufacturing jobs in every state in the union that would make the program political suicide to kill.

    More likely Trump was told at some briefing the price per aircraft was about to drop (due to the retooling that always occurs) and kicked up a fuss so he can claim credit for the expected price drops.

    It’s all part of the game.

    • Yep….

      Incoming SecDef Mattis backed the programme yesterday.

      If the DOD are smart they will negotiate a good 450-unit block buy & hit their cost milestone.
      Then Trump can claim credit.

      Everyone gets what they want and what was going to happen anyway happens!

  2. I’ve always wondered why in the 70’s fighters became so expensive. Thinking back to the 1950’s, the UK churned out hundreds of airframes from a plethora of manufactures. Planes like the Hunter, Buccaneer were very effective machines, but were built in quantity at what must have been a digestible price? OK, stealth required a whole different approach, yet the question must be asked, was that a signal the baffle and price hike the costs? Trump is within his rights to ask the vexed question, assuming current costs are sacrosanct and off the table? If so, that particular paradigm may need to be challenged.

    One other factor, is monopoly, there are fewer manufactures today and that leads to set cost procedures, that could make cost reduction less achievable. I might be talking absolute rot however, Trump is about to disturb the hornet nest, and it will be interesting how many preconceived paradimes remain intact….watch this space.

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