April 2, 2014. David Pugliese - Defence Watch
Reuters is reporting that the U.S. military is working closely with Lockheed Martin Corp and other suppliers to lower the per-plane cost of the F-35 fighter jet and improve its reliability.
More from Reuters:
Assistant Air Force Secretary William LaPlante said the price of the new A-model F-35 is on track to drop from $112 million now to the mid-$80 million range by 2018 or 2019, but the program is developing plans to drive the price even lower.
The Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog agency, remains skeptical about those efforts, noting that the A-model jets procured in 2013 cost $124.8 million each, about $41 million above the Pentagon’s target for 2019.
The U.S. military was also focused on improving the reliability of the jets, which are breaking down between flights more often than expected, he said.
The F-35 A-model was intended to cost around $50 million per plane, giving the United States and its allies a low-cost way to replace a dozen warplanes now in service.