F-35 LRIP 8 Numbers In

The contract for the low-rate initial production lot of 43 F-35s with Lockheed Martin, agreed to on Monday, came out to be $4.55 billion, program manager Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan reported at a press conference Thursday. He revised a previous estimate, which said the per-plane cost dropped 3.6 percent from Lot 7 to Lot 8; it actually dropped 3.4 percent, due to currency fluctuations regarding partner funds. Pratt & Whitney also agreed to a $1.05 billion deal for Lot 8 engine production, for 48 engines, with a price reduction from Lot 7 to Lot 8 of 4.5 percent, Bogdan said. Including Lot 7, the price has dropped nine percent. Both Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney are getting “back on the curve” for desired cost reductions, Bogdan said, reiterating that if things stay on track, F-35 flyaway unit costs will be in the $80 million to $85 million range by 2019. Those costs might be lower still, since they don’t count savings that may accrue from doing multiyear buys, or a quasi-multiyear buy that adds in partner purchases before then, as well as “Blueprint for Affordability” savings initiatives that begin in Lot 9.