The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin finalized an agreement for the production and delivery of 478 F-35s on Tuesday. The $34 billion contract represents the lowest cost per aircraft in the F-35 program’s notoriously expensive history, with the F-35A unit price dropping an average of 12.8 percent over the three lots (Lots 12-14) covered by the agreement as compared to Lot 11. Unit prices for the F-35B and F-35C variants dropped an average of 12.3 percent and 13.2 percent respectively.
“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 5th Generation F-35 to equal or less than 4th Generation legacy aircraft,” said Lockheed Martin F-35 Program Vice President and General Manager Greg Ulmer. “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.”
By Lot 14, the F-35A is expected to cost $77.9 million per unit with the F-35B at $101.3 million and the F-35C at $94.4 million each. According to Lockheed Martin, the F-35 fleet currently includes more than 450 aircraft stationed at 19 bases around the world. The fleet has accrued in excess of 220,000 flight hours.