Lockheed Martin is in talks with the governments of Spain, Switzerland and Belgium to sell its F-35 fighter jets.
"We are talking to several other countries - Switzerland, Belgium, Spain," Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin's F-35 programme leader, told reporters at the Avalon Airshow in Australia Friday.
"There are quite a few other European nations that are looking at perhaps having the F-35 as an opportunity," Babione said. "We are starting to see other customers think about the F-35 being added to their fleet."
Babione said that countries already signed up to the F-35 program along with the United States - Australia, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and Israel - need to start ordering in blocks beyond yearly commitments to help meet a reduced target cost of $80 million by 2020.
"It is actually a very reasonable target but it is going to take cooperation in changing the way we buy the aircraft," he said.
Bringing new customers could help significantly reduce the cost of the military aircraft after several blowouts and production delays. The United States and 10 allies are clients of the F-35 currently.
Another person familiar with the discussions, who was not authorised to speak on the record, said that Finland was also in talks.
U.S. President Donald Trump has criticised the cost of the project. While the price per jet has steadily declined since the first jets were delivered to the U.S. military in 2011 as production has increased, it remains at $94.6 million.
Lockheed is pressing purchasers to agree to a three-year block buy that would help reduce costs by bulk sourcing parts.
"The longer we do it the more we are able to aggregate," Babione said. "Maybe in the future you are talking about a multi-year and you could do a five year multi-year and increase the savings."
Babione also urged Canada to speed up a decision about whether it would buy the F-35s or Boeing Co's (BA.N) Super Hornets instead.
The Pentagon's head of the F-35 programme said earlier this week at Avalon that the overall reliability of the jets is being pulled down by initial versions of the aircraft which do not perform as well as more recently delivered jets.
"Unfortunately today the aircraft reliability and maintainability of the airplane is what I would call flat," Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan of the U.S. Department of Defense said.
Lockheed Martin is being awarded a $1 billion contract for recurring logistics support and sustainment services for F-35 Lightning II aircraft in support of the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants; and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. Sustainment services to be provided include ground maintenance, action request resolution, depot activation, Automatic Logistics Information System, operations and maintenance, reliability, maintainability and health management implementation and support, supply chain management, and activities to provide and support pilot and maintainer initial training
Lockheed Martin has received additional funding to provide equipment and technical support for Aegis Ashore test and operational systems in Poland. "Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Moorestown, New Jersey, has been awarded a $10,396,703 modification to a previously awarded contract to provide equipment and technical support for Aegis Ashore test and operational systems in Poland," the release explained on Thursday
Lockheed Martin has revealed a sales plan for the PZL Mielec M28 'Bryza' short take-off and landing (STOL) light airlifter. The airlifter obtained the transport aircraft with the acquisition of the Polish manufacturer's Sikorsky parent company in November 2015
Germany has plans to set up a joint fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp C-130J transport planes with France as part of a move to expand European defence cooperation to be announced at NATO defence ministers meeting in Brussels. The country also has plans to join a Netherlands-led fleet of Airbus A330 tanker planes,
The Belgian government which has all but decided to buy the F-35 fighter jet may insist on some of the equipment abroad the United States-made fighter to be of European Origin. While a formal selection between the Eurofighter Typhoon and the F-35 is awaited, Brussels is tilting in favor of the F-35 with only an announcement awaited, local newspaper De Morgen reported based on information from sources in the know
An F-16 fighter jet belonging to the Belgian Air Force was completedly gutted and another severely damaged after a mechanic accidentally activated a third aircrafts 20mm Vulcan M61A-1 cannon. The incident happened when the mechanic was servicing an F-16 warplane at Florennes Air Base in the south of the country Thursday, local media and agencies reported
Switzerland has invited five European and US companies to submit their bids to replace its ageing fleet of fighter jets. The defense ministry has sent out the offer to Saab (Gripen), Dassault (Rafale), Airbus (Eurofighter), Boeing (Super Hornet) and Lockheed Martin (F-35A) for the Air 2030 program
The State Department has approved Spains request to purchase CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters and related equipment for an estimated $1.3 billion
The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Belgium of 34 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft for an estimated cost of $6.53 billion
The Swiss government plans to spend $8 billion (CHF8 billion) to buy new fighter jets and missile defences. The Federal Council on Wednesday tasked the defence ministry with looking at potential aircraft, wanting it to begin talks with Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, Lockheed Martin and Saab, SwissInfo reported Thursday
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