Lockheed Martin slashes price of F-35 as Pentagon eyes competitors
Lockheed is offering to sell 100 F-35As – the cheapest variant of the jet – to the Department of Defense for under $80 million each, according to a report from Defense One. The variant previously came with a price tag of $89.5 million, under a deal inked last September.
The discounted jets would be shipped to the Air Force, while Lockheed would also provide two other lots of the more expensive F-35Bs for the Marine Corps and F-35Cs for the Navy, and an assortment of variants for allied forces.Also on rt.com Russia ready to replace American F-35s with own Su-57s if Ankara’s deal with US fails
The price cut comes as the Air Force mulls purchasing Boeing’s upgraded F-15 Eagle fighters in a bid to replace its existing but aging fleet of F-15s. Pentagon budget documents revealed this plan in March. Although an upgraded Cold War-era airframe, the F-15 is slightly cheaper than the next-generation F-35.
Lockheed, however, has pitched the F-35 as a more cost-efficient solution, given the recent price drop.
“This represents equal or less than the procurement cost of legacy jets, while providing a generational leap in capability,” a spokesman told Defense One.
‘Cost efficient’ is not a term commonly applied to the F-35. Since Lockheed won the contract almost 20 years ago, the F-35 has become the most expensive military program ever, with the total price tag expected to hit $1.5 trillion by 2070, the projected end of its service life. Cost overruns and delays have plagued the program, which was already $163 billion over budget and seven years behind schedule by 2014.Also on rt.com US Air Force deploys F-35As on their FIRST combat mission (PHOTOS)
Although the USAF deployed F-35s on their first combat mission earlier this month, reports of technical and safety flaws have repeatedly surfaced. A 2018 Government Accountability Office report revealed more than 960 “open deficiencies” that needed to be resolved, while a separate Pentagon report published in February found more issues with the plane, including problems with its gun and a shorter than projected operational lifespan.
A Japanese F-35A crashed into the Pacific Ocean during a training exercise last month. The defense ministry in Tokyo later revealed that five F-35s of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force have had to make emergency landings in the two years before the crash, and that the jet had been bugged with cooling and navigation issues.
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