The Pentagon’s most expensive fighter aircraft program, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, will cost operators “less than any fourth generation fighter in the world”.
According to Lorraine Martin, general manager for the JSF, “By 2019, the F-35A (the Air Force version) will cost $85 million when counting future inflation.”
The figure, calculated at $75 million in 2013 dollars, includes engines and all weapon systems for the conventional-takeoff-and-landing fifth-generation fighter, Martin added.
At very recent, low-rate initial production lot 7 (LRIP-7), an engine-less F-35A came in around $98 million. If Lockheed can meet this cost goal, it would make the fifth-generation fighter competitively priced with fourth-generation aircraft such as the F-16 and F/A-18.
In 2013, the U.S acquisition report declared a drop to $391.2 billion cost from last year's estimate of $395.7 billion for developing and building the F-35, a new radar-evading fighter jet.
"This is the first year a cost reduction was noted. We will work with the F-35 Joint Program Office to implement further cost saving measures which will result in additional significant decreases to the total program cost," said Lockheed spokesperson.
A U.S report projected the total cost of the F-35 program down to $1.50 trillion from last year’s estimate of $1.51 billion, reflecting the lower projected acquisition cost.
Frank Kendall, head of Pentagon acquisition has made it clear that they are trying to keep the JSF price and program costs as low as possible, adding that their commitment to the F-35 is rock solid as the program has stabilized and cut costs.
Further, Lockheed Martin is expecting increased international orders for the plane, including the rollout of the first F-35 from Italy’s final assembly and check-out (FACO) facility toward the end of 2014, according to Defense News.
In comparison, Boeing’s new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet costs $51 million per aircraft, the Saab Gripen is estimated at about $61 million per aircraft, while the Dassault Rafale costs $67.9 million and Russian MiG-35 is priced at $30 million.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has delivered its first F-35 Lightning II centre fuselage to Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin at a ceremony held at TAI's facilities in Ankara, Turkey yesterday. The centre fuselage will be installed into a U S Air Force aircraft at Lockheed Martins facilities in Fort Worth, Texas
Korean lawmakers are urging the government to renegotiate the purchase of 40 Lockheed Martin F-35A stealth fighters by including technology transfer and local assembly in US$7.2 billion deal
South Korea will purchase 40 Lockheed Martin's F-35A stealth fighters from 2018, with an option to buy 20 more later, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) was quoted as saying by Yonhap News. JCS Chairman Choi Yun-hee held a meeting of top commanders to approve the plan to buy the 40 F-35 Block 3s, which are capable of conducting air-to-air and air-to-ground missions with internal carriage and external stations for missiles and bombs
Australia's first F-35A – commonly known as the Joint Strike Fighter is on track to be operational in 2020, according to New Air Combat Capability Project Manager Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Kym Osley. AVM Osley was at the F-35A manufacturing plant Fort Worth in Texas recently when the RAAFs first F-35A came together
Pratt & Whitney has won a $508 million modification to the previously awarded F-35 Lightening II Lot VI low rate initial production advance acquisition contract. This modification provides for the procurement of 18 F135 conventional take off and landing (CTOL) propulsion systems for the U
The Pentagon decides to put on hold the F-35 helmet development in order to further mature the Rockwell Collins-Elbit Systems America Vision Systems Generation 2 helmet currently used in training and testing. The program will recoup approximately $45 million in funds it had originally allocated for the development of the alternate helmet
The US Marine Corps F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program would be delayed further due to glitches in software development and testing, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Earlier reports said the F-35s is scheduled to reach “initial operating capability” by mid-2015
Israel is planning to adopt indigenously-built Stand-Off guided weapons for the F-35 fighters they are buying. Rafael has begun work to merge the Spice 1000 Electro-Optically, Stand-Off guided weapon to bomber, according to C4Defence
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is close to signing the first contract for Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft, UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was quoted as saying by Reuters Television. The UK MoD will soon place a firm order in a bid to have the first squadron ready to start flying training off the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in 2018
Lockheed Martin successfully tested the U.S
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