F-35 Price Drops

The Defense Department has updated its projected total acquisition cost for the F-35 program to $379 billion, a drop of $12.1 billion from what was reported in 2014. The new number, mentioned in a Government Accountability Office report, which was presented to the House Armed Services Committee’s tactical air and land forces panel on Wednesday, shows how the program is “coming down the price curve faster than anticipated,” F-35 Joint Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said at the hearing. The F-35 program is at a “pivot point” as manufacturing ramps up, including the delivery of 45 jets last year. The Air Force is working to meet its initial operational capability goal later this year, and is already moving to show off the jets it does have. The service has set up an F-35 heritage flight, and has planned 14 total public events this year, including air shows in places such as Chicago, Las Vegas, and New York City, Bogdan said. The plan is to publicly show the jet in an effort to build public support. “We’ve added years and billions of dollars to the program. Even though that hasn’t happened since 2010, people remember that,” he said. (Bogdan’s Prepared Testimony.)