Factbox: What Does Lockheed's F-35 Fighter Jet Really Cost?

By Reuters
May 24, 2013
Credit: U.S. Defense Department

Lockheed Martin is developing and building the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, for three U.S. military branches and eight international partners.

The Pentagon released new cost projections for 78 major weapons programs on Thursday, including the F-35 program which showed the first decline in cost after years of increases and restructurings.

The partners who are helping fund the F-35’s development include Britain, Australia, Canada, Turkey, Italy, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Israel and Japan have also placed orders and Singapore may soon follow suit, according to U.S. government sources. Lockheed is also bidding for a 60-fighter order from South Korea.

Following are some key figures about the F-35 program:


* A new U.S. Defense Department estimate put the cost of developing, testing and building the F-35 multi-role fighter jet at $391.2 billion, down from last year’s estimate of $395.7 billion. The forecast assumes U.S. purchases of 2,443 production jets, on top of 14 test planes.

* Retrofits of existing planes to address problems found in flight testing are expected to total $1.7 billion over the first 10 production batches, according to the most recent report by the congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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