The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have reached an agreement on the financial terms for the next batch of F-35 Lightning IIs. The so-called Lot 11 production will include 141 stealth jets, with 91 going to the U.S., 28 to partner nations and 22 to foreign military sales (currently Israel, Japan and the Republic of Korea), according to American Machinist.
The per unit prices for the three versions of the stealth jet, including engines (an expense that is, amazingly, sometimes left out of Pentagon cost estimates):
- F-35A, the conventional Air Force variant: $89.2 million, a 5.4 percent reduction from the Lot 10 price.
- F-35B, the Marine’s short take-off and vertical landing variant: $115.5 million, a 5.7 percent reduction from the last batch.
- F-35C, the Navy’s variant for aircraft carriers: $107.7 million, an 11.1 percent reduction.
Operating costs are reportedly falling for the F-35 as well. Vice Adm. Mat Winter, the head of the Joint Strike Fighter program, said this week that hourly operating costs had dropped by $12,000 in 2017, or $1.1 million “per tail per year across the fleet,” Breaking Defense reports. The goal, Winter said, is to get the hourly cost down to roughly the same level as the F-16, or about $25,000.