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Unit price drop for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have finalised a US$34 billion agreement for the production and delivery of 478 F-35s at the lowest aircraft price in the history of the program.

In the agreement, the F-35 Enterprise meets and exceeds its long-stated cost reduction targets for each variant – and the F-35A unit price, including aircraft and engine, is now below $80 million in both Lot 13 and Lot 14. The F-35A unit cost represents an estimated overall 12.8 per cent reduction from Lot 11 costs for the conventional landing variant, and an average of 12.7 per cent savings across all three variants from Lot 11 to 14.

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US Air Force Lieutenant General Eric Fick, F-35 Program Executive Officer, welcomed the announcement, saying, "Driving down cost is critical to the success of this program. I am excited that the F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have agreed on this landmark three-lot deal. This agreement achieves an average 12.7 per cent cost reduction across all three variants and gets us below $80 million for a USAF F-35A by Lot 13 – one lot earlier than planned."

The agreement includes 291 aircraft for the US Services, 127 for F-35 International Partners, and 60 for F-35 foreign military sales customers. Price details include:

Variant

Lot 12

SPONSORED CONTENT

 

Lot 13

Lot 14

% Reduction
from Lot 11*

F-35A

$82.4M

$79.2M

$77.9M

12.8%

F-35B

$108.0M

$104.8M

$101.3M

12.3%

F-35C

$103.1M

$98.1M

$94.4M

13.2%

*Please note: Final prices for F-35 variants following adjustments for
Congressional plus-ups and other contractual settlements are as
follows: F-35A - $89.3M; F-35B - $115.5M; and F-35C - $108.8M.
 

Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin, F-35 Program vice president and general manager, reiterated the comments made by LTGEN Fick, saying, "With smart acquisition strategies, strong government-industry partnership and a relentless focus on quality and cost reduction, the F-35 Enterprise has successfully reduced procurement costs of the fifth-generation F-35 to equal or less than fourth-generation legacy aircraft."

The sub $80 million unit recurring flyaway cost for an F-35 represents an integrated acquisition price for the fifth-generation weapon system. With embedded sensors and targeting pods, this F-35 unit price includes items that add additional procurement and sustainment costs to legacy fourth-generation aircraft.

"With the F-35A unit cost now below $80 million in Lot 13, we were able to exceed our long-standing cost reduction commitment one year earlier than planned," Ulmer added. 

With more than 450 aircraft operating from 19 bases around the globe, the F-35 is playing a critical role in today's global security environment. More than 910 pilots and 8,350 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 220,000 cumulative flight hours.

Eight nations have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil and seven Services have declared initial operating capability.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is billed as a catalyst for the fifth-generation revolution, changing the face and capability of the Royal Australian Air Force and the wider Australian Defence Force.

For the RAAF, the F-35A's combination of full-spectrum low-observable stealth coatings and materials, advanced radar-dispersing shaping, network-centric sensor and communications suites – combined with a lethal strike capability – means the aircraft will be the ultimate force multiplying, air-combat platform.

The F-35A – the variant chosen by the RAAF – will have a projected life of 30 years in service. Ten nations are currently flying F-35s, including the US, UK, Italy, Norway, Israel and Japan.

The first of Australia’s F-35A aircraft are now based on home soil after a period of training and development at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, plus an epic Pacific Ocean crossing in December 2018.

Over the coming years, Australia will purchase 72 of the advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft as part of the $17 billion AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program – which is aimed at replacing the ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets that have been in service with the RAAF since 1985.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

Unit price drop for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
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