The U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin (NYSE :LMT ) have finalized an $11.5 billion contract for the production and delivery of 141 F-35 aircraft at the lowest per aircraft price in program 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).
“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.”
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.
The F-35 fighter jet conducted a combat airstrike for the first time, culminating years of development and anticipation for the aircraft’s move to the battlefield.
A Marine F-35B Lightening took off from the USS Essex amphibious assault ship and launched an airstrike Thursday against Taliban targets in Afghanistan. The aircraft is assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
With stealth technology, supersonic speed, powerful sensors, large weapons capacity and global deployment, the F-35 is the most advanced fighter aircraft ever built, enabling women and men in uniform to execute their mission and return home safely. More than a fighter jet, the F-35’s ability to collect, analyze and share data, is a powerful force multiplier that enhances all airborne, surface and ground-based assets in the battlespace.
“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.”
The F-35 is built at Lockheed’s Fort Worth plant.