Pentagon and Lockheed Martin finalise $34bn F-35 fighter jet deal

30 October 2019 (Last Updated October 30th, 2019 10:13)

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have finalised a $34bn agreement for the next three lots of F-35 fighter jets, setting the price of an F-35A jet below $80m.

Pentagon and Lockheed Martin finalise $34bn F-35 fighter jet deal
The F-35A is now below $80m, a lower cost than legacy aircraft. Credit: Lockheed Martin Corporation.

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have finalised a $34bn agreement for the next three lots of F-35 fighter jets, setting the price of an F-35A jet below $80m.

Under the deal, the US Department of Defense (DoD) will purchase 478 F-35s from Lockheed Martin to support the country’s military services, partner nations and foreign military sales customers.

The deal covers lots 12, 13 and 14. Lockheed Martin will deliver 149 F-35s in Lot 12, 160 aircraft in Lot 13 and 169 for Lot 14.

On average, the price per aircraft will fall by around 12.7% across all variants from Lot 11 to Lot 14 and is now below $80m in both Lot 13 and Lot 14.

Of the 478 F-35s, 291 will be used for the US military, 127 for F-35 international partners and 60 for F-35 foreign military sales customers.

Lockheed Martin F-35 Program vice-president and general manager Greg Ulmer said: “With smart acquisition strategies, strong government-industry partnership and a relentless focus on quality and cost reduction, the F-35 Enterprise has successfully reduced procurement costs of the 5th Generation F-35 to equal or less than 4th Generation legacy aircraft.

“With the F-35A unit cost now below $80m in Lot 13, we were able to exceed our long-standing cost reduction commitment one year earlier than planned.”

The F-35 is designed to defeat the most advanced threat systems both in the air and on the ground, as well as those anticipated to emerge in the years to come.

The aircraft delivers additional 5th Generation features, including multi-spectral sensors, interoperability and modernised avionics.

Lockheed Martin said the F-35 fleet has surpassed over 220,000 cumulative flight hours and eight nations have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil with seven services declaring initial operating capability.

The F-35 Program supports over 220,000 direct and indirect jobs in the US alone with more than 1,400 suppliers in 46 states and Puerto Rico.