Pentagon Wants More F-35s for Less
Amid mounting pressures to rein in the F-35, the Pentagon hopes to lower the cost of the joint strike fighter by five to seven percent for its next order of jets, APA reports quoting Sputnik.
The new price target for the Pentagon’s F-35, once called the most expensive weapons system is history, is $80 million, according to officials involved in the negotiations.
The next order is slated to be one of the largest additions of F-35s to the US armed forces. The deal could include as many as 130 new jets.
The US managed to buy the F-35s for an average unit cost of approximately $94 million in the tenth block of jets, which represented substantial savings from the previous price of $102 million per jet.
While US President Donald Trump claimed personal credit for the savings, cost reductions were already built into the procurement process. Namely, when manufacturers boost production of the stealth fighter, it allows the manufacturer to spread fixed costs over a larger number of units.
Pentagon officials are eyeing a batch of 130 jets for its next procurement package. The Defense Department and F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin have an agreement in place to buy more than 2,000 units.
In March, F-35 program director Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan said that by 2020 the price of the jet would fall below $80, a roughly 16-percent drop from its current sticker price, Defense News reported.
Boeing recently made a push to influence the Trump administration to buy “advanced” F/A-18 Super Hornets. That effort reached an ostensible end.
US Navy Rear Adm. Bill Moran said at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space Symposium that the Navy “plans to procure two squadrons of Boeing’s F/A-18 and two squadrons of Lockheed Martin’s F-35C variant.”
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