The US Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin have finalised an $11.5 billion contract for the production and delivery of 141 F-35 aircraft.

The contract also specifies the lowest per aircraft price in programme history.

The F-35A unit price including aircraft, engine and fee, is $89.2 million. This represents a 5.4 percent reduction from the $94.3 million it cost for an F-35A in Low-Rate Initial Production Lot 10 (LRIP 10). 

In LRIP 11, the F-35B unit cost was lowered to $115.5 million.  This represents a 5.7 percent reduction from the $122.4 million it cost for the short-takeoff and landing variant in LRIP 10. 

The F-35C unit cost was lowered to $107.7 million. This represents an 11.1 percent reduction from the $121.2 million it cost for the carrier variant in LRIP 10. 

The LRIP 11 agreement funds 91 aircraft for the U.S. Services, 28 for F-35 International Partners and 22 for F-35 Foreign Military Sales customers. Deliveries will begin in 2019.

“Driving down cost is critical to the success of this program,” said Vice Admiral Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer.

“We are delivering on our commitment to get the best price for taxpayers and warfighters. This agreement for the next lot of F-35s represents a fair deal for the U.S. Government, our international partnership and industry.  We remain focused on aggressively reducing F-35 cost and delivering best value.”

“This agreement marks a significant step forward for the F-35 program as we continue to increase production, reduce costs and deliver transformational capabilities to our men and women in uniform,” said Greg Ulmer, F-35 Vice President and General Manager.

“As production ramps up, and we implement additional cost savings initiatives, we are on track to reduce the cost of the F-35A to $80 million by 2020, which is equal to or less than legacy aircraft, while providing a major leap in capability.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. The naysayers will not be happy bunnies ….

    This proves our delayed and phased purchase plan was very sensible. It also gave the USMC all F-35B production after the first test aircraft which helped their IOC targets for which consideration the USMC signed up to support QE with Squadrons of F-35Bs to maintain numbers untill all our aircraft are delivered.

    Plus the later aircraft will have more of the expected bugs manufactured out before delivery.

    • Well said Chris. I have two cousins who are fully paid up members of the Jeremy Corbyn Fan Club. They believe we should cancel the F35b and demand all the money back that we have contributed to the programme and sell the two new Aircraft Carriers.
      Am I right in saying that for every F35 the U.K. contributes 15% and how many jobs will be lost due to this? We would lose trust from many nations around the world especially in the US.

  2. F35-B £89 million at today’s RIE. A snip! Heading towards less than $100 million for next batches.

    Cost per flying hour coming down would be nice all the same, in terms of maintenance cycles.

  3. It’s frustrating though because everyone wants to play the same game when it comes to ordering the later cheaper more refined aircraft, so unless you have the US willing to get through the initial expensive orders for their test and evaluation aircraft it can really hampers other aircraft programs. Look at ATLAS where Germany and France held back on their large orders that have yet to fully materialise leaving the UK to commit to their 22 aircraft which will likely have more bugs that can be ironed out in later versions. If the UK had not ordered their 22 aircraft the whole project could have collapsed yet France and Germany got the lion share of the work share complete BS.

  4. How many times have I said this since joining this forum?

    Sacrificing Stealth

    “Neither the Advanced Super Hornet nor the Silent Eagle would be as stealthy as the F-35. They simply weren’t optimized for it.

    But is the F-35’s stealth the significant advantage proponents claim? According to the Israelis, the F-35’s stealth capabilities will only be effective for 5 to 10 years—a point they made more than four years ago. Since then, they’ve added their own electronic warfare systems to the F-35 to combat this coming obsolescence.

    As a recent piece in the National Interest pointed out, the U.S. Air Force acknowledges that electronic warfare will become increasingly necessary to support stealth aircraft. Both the Chinese and Russians are developing low-frequency radars that can effectively track stealth aircraft. As these low frequency radars proliferate, even aeroplanes like the F-35 will have to be supported and escorted by specialized electronic warfare aircraft like the Super Hornet-based EA-18G Growler.

    Far less discussed is the fact that stealth aeroplanes are maintenance nightmares. Preserving their stealth attributes (coatings, skin materials) is tough on land and even more difficult at sea. Current Super Hornets and the ASH would largely circumvent this challenge. It’s one of the unspoken reasons why the Navy has resisted buying large numbers of F-35Cs.

    So if stealth can be increasingly countered, is it best to invest in a stealth fleet if you have to comprise airframe performance and cost efficiency in the process?”

    Let’s hope we do our homework first before investing too heavily in this programme?

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a24682/f-35-vs-super-hornet/

    • Purchasing the F35A to me makes no sense when we could replace these with the F-15X and the new E18G Growler. A combination of these coupled with Typhoon and a limited number of F35B’s for the carriers until we can install EMAL’s gives us far greater flexibility in a time of conflict.

      The F-15X will have a 20,000-hour service life. Yes, you read that right, 20,000 hours—pretty much three times that of most fighters being produced around the globe. As such, a new F-15X can serve for roughly 80 years. When you spread the cost of the jet over all that flight time, it does appear to be a comparative bargain.

      http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/22372/exclusive-unmasking-the-f-15x-boeings-f-15c-d-eagle-replacement-fighter

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