Price Smackdown

Boeing on Tuesday challenged Lockheed Martin’s recent comparison of F-35 strike fighter and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet prices. Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing Military Airplanes, called a telecon with defense reporters to rebut last week’s Daily Report entry in which Lockheed’s F-35 business development lead Steve O’Bryan said the F-35 will cost about $65 million in 2010 dollars, a figure that he said is “the same cost” as the Super Hornet. Chadwick said the F/A-18E/F actually costs $53 million in 2010 dollars, and that includes an advanced targeting system, APG-79 advanced electronically scanned array radar, helmet-mounted cueing system, and external fuel tanks. He also said the Super Hornet’s lower costs for production and sustainment are based on actual data versus “estimates” for the F-35. “Lockheed needs to be a little more true with their facts,” asserted Chadwick. Lockheed is assuming volume efficiencies on “aircraft that may never be built,” he said. The two-seat Super Hornet F model also offers superior situational awareness compared to the single-seat F-35, Chadwick claimed, adding that the two independent cockpits mean Super Hornet aircrew can assess and attack more targets simultaneously.