From a good report by Reuters:
FACTBOX-What does Lockheed’s F-35 fighter jet really cost?
The Pentagon released new cost projections for 78 major weapons programs on Thursday [May 23], including the F-35 program which showed the first decline in cost after years of increases and restructurings ["SELECTED ACQUISITION REPORT(SAR) SUMMARY TABLES"]…
Following are some key figures about the F-35 program:
COST OF THE OVERALL PROGRAM
* A new U.S. Defense Department estimate put the cost of developing, testing and building the F-35 multi-role fighter jet at $391.2 billion, down from last year’s estimate of $395.7 billion [by some $4.5 billion, lifetime]. The forecast assumes U.S. purchases of 2,443 production jets, on top of 14 test planes…
COST PER JET
* New cost estimates prepared by the Pentagon showed a drop in the projected average cost of the Air Force and Marine Corps variants over the life of the program[emphasis added], but the projected cost of the U.S. Navy variant for aircraft carriers edged higher.
* The Pentagon now forecasts that the conventional takeoff A-model will average a cost of $76.8 million per plane, excluding R&D costs, down which is $1.9 million less than the estimate provided last year. The B-model, which can take off and land like a helicopter, is slated to cost $103.6 million per plane.
* The latest estimate put the cost of the carrier variant at $88.7 million per plane, up $1.7 million from last year.
* The fifth and most recent batch of jets ordered by the Pentagon cost 4 percent less than the previous order, and prices should come down steadily in the future, according to Air Force Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan, who runs the F-35 program for the Pentagon…
Over time, as production quantities increase, the jets are expected to start dropping in price. The per-plane forecasts factor in foreign orders, which are not included in the U.S. development, procurement and operating cost.
[Lieutenant General Christopher] Bogdan [Pentagon F-35 program head] recently said he expected to reach the target price at least for the A-model by 2020, when Australia is due to start buying the first of the 100 F-35s currently in its plans [see here, plus "Comments"].
Lockheed executives say they believe the government’s estimates are too conservative, and predict that the price of the new warplane will be even lower once the company starts full-rate production later this decade [see also: "F-35 Costs: LockMart vs the USAF"]…
Meanwhile, more Canadian government new fighter questionnaires, and LockMart, atMILNEWS.ca:
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1) “The National Fighter Procurement Secretariat has released two questionnaires to industry in order to obtain information on the price of available fighter aircraft and the potential benefits to Canadian industry. This engagement is part of the evaluation of options to replace Canada’s CF-18 fleet. The five companies with available aircraft are invited to complete the questionnaire seeking rough order-of-magnitude cost estimates by early July. The Secretariat is also issuing a draft questionnaire to obtain information on potential industrial benefits to Canada. After feedback from the companies is reviewed and incorporated, a final questionnaire will be sent to the companies for completion at a later date, as was done with other questionnaires ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (2) LockMart: They’re what Canada needs – just ask us! “Its purchase cost jumped by $20 million apiece somewhere along the way, it has been plagued by technical problems and cost overruns and has been roundly criticized by top Pentagon officials and pilots. But Lockheed Martin Corp. is deploying the big artillery at its disposal to convince Canadians — and Ottawa — that its F-35 is still the best fighter jet to wage the coming battle to protect Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. The world’s largest defence contractor rolled out its cross-Canada road show in Montreal Wednesday [May 22] to vaunt the virtues of the F-35, the most expensive weapons program in history, at more than $400 billion U.S. over decades ….”
And some recent high-hoping:
Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute