Wed, 17 Aug 2022

Pentagon set to purchase 375 F-35 jets for $30 billion

Robert Besser
22 Jul 2022, 17:43 GMT+10

WASHINGTON D.C.: Reports this week said the U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin Corp are nearing an agreement for the purchase of some 375 F-35 fighter jets over three years.

When it first came off the production line in 2007, the stealth fifth-generation fighter cost $221 million, but as production quantities and know-how have increased, the price fell to $79 million per jet.

In recent weeks, talks have stalled due to data rights, and if an agreement is reached the final pricing would not be locked in for several weeks or months, but the total value of the purchase would reach some $30 billion.

The F-35 comes in three configurations, the A-model for the U.S. Air Force and America's allies; the F-35 B-model, which can handle short takeoffs and vertical landings; and the F-35C, modified for aircraft carrier landings.

In 2019, the Pentagon signed an agreement for a three-year "block buy" of 478 F-35 fighter jets, allowing Lockheed to purchase larger quantities of components to reduce costs by about 8 percent, to $34 billion, compared with negotiating annual contracts.

Any country with F-16 jets, the predecessor to the F-35, such as Greece and the Czech Republic, is a potential customer, according to Lockheed executives.

The F-35 has had several recent successes in jet fighter competitions, including in Finland, Switzerland and Germany.

The F-35 jet program accounts for some 27 percent of Lockheed's revenues.

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