The Pentagon has revealed a plan to reduce the production and acquisition costs of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
Speaking to media on the sidelines of this week’s Farnborough Airshow in the UK, JSF Program Office (JPO) head LtGen Chris Bogdan said the JPO has signed ‘The Blueprint for Affordability’ agreement with prime contractor Lockheed Martin and sub-contractors Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems to implement cost reduction initiatives to lower the production costs of the F-35.
“This is a significant change in business approach within the F-35 program,” Gen Bogdan said. “Industry partners will make an upfront investment into cost cutting measures that the government and taxpayers will reap benefits from by buying F-35s at a lower cost. By 2019, we expect that the F-35 with its unprecedented 5th generation capability will be nearly equal in cost to any other fighter on the market, but with far more advanced capability.”
Lockheed Martin’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, F-35 Program, Lorraine Martin added, “We are taking these unprecedented measures in support of our customers’ affordability challenges. We have total faith in the F-35 to support the U.S. and our allies’ future defense needs. Our industry team knows what is at stake given the current budgetary and global security demands to reach these cost milestones.”
During a visit to the Avalon Airshow in 2013, Gen Bogdan told media he was confident the price of the F-35A would be between $80 and $85 million by the time full-rate production kicks in from 2018.