The Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office has revised down its cost estimates of the JSF program after taking into account new modelling based on the international partner program and the economies of scale yet to be realised on the 3000+ aircraft program.
The new estimates were revealed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics COO Dan Crowley, although no specific numbers have been revealed yet pending the company and the Pentagon finalising the Lot 4 production agreement, which was agreed upon last month. Lockheed had previously said it would come in at least 20 per cent lower than the previous CAPE estimate on Lot 4, and that costs would continue to fall as production ramped up. The CAPE’s previous estimates had been based on how ‘legacy’ fighter programs such as the F-22 and F/A-18E/F had played out, both of which produced less than 600 aircraft and were wholly US funded.
Crowley did reveal that the CAPE estimates “met” Lockheed’s own when it came to the F-35A CTOL variant, although there was still some disparity between the two estimates for the F-35B STOVL and the carrier F-35C versions, both of which will comprise less than 20 per cent of the planned production run.