WASHINGTON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Top officials with Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter program, speaking with Reuters in an interview, gave the following details about the $300 billion fighter jet program:
# SAYS SINGAPORE RECEIVED A FIRST CLASSIFIED BRIEFING ON F-35 FIGHTER PROGRAM
Wednesday, sees international interest growing
# SAYS PENTAGON BUDGETING F-35 PROGRAM MORE CONSERVATIVELY GIVEN RECENT
acquisition reform law, but still plans to fully fund the program
# SAYS HAS ALREADY REDUCED UNIT COST OF F-35 FIGHTER SHARPLY DURING EARLY
production, sees average cost per plane reaching about $50 million (in FY
2002 dlrs) in 2014
# SAYS BRITISH AUTHORITIES VERY COMMITTED TO F-35 PROGRAM AND TOLD THE COMPANY THAT REPORTS OF A PLANNED CUT IN UK F-35 BUY ARE SPECULATION
# SAYS EXPECTS TO SIGN FOURTH LOW-RATE PRODUCTION CONTRACT WITH PENTAGON IN
April or may
# SAYS EXPECTS F-35 SHORT TAKEOFF, VERTICAL LANDING VERSION TO COMPLETE
vertical landing "very soon," after 12 more preparatory flights
Some personal observations....
1. Have you noticed that in the UK the talk is always of reducing the number of F-35 but never of the RAF pulling out of its portion of the fighter program. That tells us all we need to know about the capabilities of this airplane. The money that the RAF is using to buy these airplanes could go toward developing the Typhoon to its ultimate Tranche. Instead they're buying F-35s.
2. The number of countries that will be buying this airplane is in my opinion seriously under-reported.
3. It only makes sense that cost savings should be realized by this point in the program. A price point of 50 mill if true would make this a game changer. Every other 4th gen fighter would be rendered automatically obsolete due to price alone, never mind the other pluses of the F-35.
4. The F-35B is progressing rapidly. This is to be expected now that Naval Aviation is involved in the program. Meeting test milestones will be much easier with the Test Schools of the Air Force and Navy involved.