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US Plans to Deliver F-35’s 5th Gen Capability at 4th Gen Cost by 2019

F-35 aircraftUS: The Department of Defense(DoD), US, has announced an agreement aimed at reducing the price of an F-35 Lightning II 5th generation fighter to the equivalent of today’s 4th generation fighters by the end of the decade. Designated ‘The Blueprint for Affordability’, the DoD and F-35 industry partners – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems signed an agreement to implement cost reduction initiatives to lower the production costs of F-35 aircraft. The agreement is built upon the US Government’s Better Buying Power 2.0 initiative, which encouraged defense contractors and the USG acquisition community to determine new and innovative ways to reduce the cost of their goods and services. Leading the change is an upfront investment by Lockheed Martin and F-35 industry teammates BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman.

“This is a significant change in business approach within the F-35 programme. Industry partners will make an upfront investment into cost cutting measures that the government and taxpayers will reap benefits from by buying F-35s at a lower cost. By 2019, we expect that the F-35 with its unprecedented 5th generation capability will be nearly equal in cost to any other fighter on the market, but with far more advanced capability,” said Lt Gen Chris Bogdan, F-35 Programme Executive Officer.

The reduced URF will have long reaching benefits for the programme, and international countries purchasing F-35s will also benefit from this savings. In the future, the government is looking at similar ways to drive down the costs of operating and sustaining the F-35. “We are taking these unprecedented measures in support of our customers’ affordability challenges. We have total faith in the F-35 to support the US and our allies’ future defense needs. Our industry team knows what is at stake given the current budgetary and global security demands to reach these cost milestones,” said Lorraine Martin, Executive Vice President and General Manager, F-35 Programme.

Source: Lockheed Martin