The US Department of Defense and F-35 Lightning II prime contractor Lockheed Martin have reached an agreement on the next lot of aircraft, LRIP 10, which includes eight F-35A jets for Australia.
This lot, which includes 90 aircraft in total, 55 jets for the US and 35 for partners and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program customers, marks the first time that the price of the conventional takeoff and landing variant is below US$100 million.
At US$94.6 million, the F-35A unit price for LRIP 10, which includes the aircraft, engine and fee, is 7.3 per cent lower than under the LRIP 9 contract.
“The LRIP 10 contract is a good and fair deal for the taxpayers, the US government, allies and industry,” said Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan, F-35 program executive officer.
“We continue to work with industry to drive costs out of the program.”
Of the 90 jets to be delivered under LRIP 10 44 are F-35As for the US Air Force and nine are F-35Bs for the US Marine Corps and two are F-35Cs for the US Navy. Australia is the biggest international buyer in LRIP 10 with 35 in all 35 for international partner and FMS customers, including six jets each for Israel, Norway and South Korea (all F-35As), four F-35As for Japan, three F-35Bs for the UK and two F-35As for Turkey.
Over 200 F-35s are now in operational service with eight nations, including Australia’s first two aircraft, AU-1 (A35-001) and AU-2 (A35-002), which have been based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona since late 2014 as part of the International Pilot Training Center there.