The Best Laid F-35 Plans

An individual F-35 would cost around $112 million today; however, that figure will decrease if planned buys unfold as anticipated, said Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan during a Senate Armed Services Committee’s airland panel on April 8. “We’ve seen the price come down lot after lot, and [that] will continue well into the 2020s,” Bogdan said. The target the program office has set is in Fiscal 2019, where an aircraft with a fully capable engine and full fly-off capability will cost between $80 million and $90 million. The profile and size of the buy will have a great deal to do with this number in the near-term, as the US military will buy and produce 43 F-35s this year, 57 in 2016, 96 in 2017, and then 121 in 2018, according to current Future Year’s Defense Plan projections. The number will rise to around 180 a year in the 2020s, he added. “The price of this aircraft continues to come down, as long as we continue to buy in numbers,” Bogdan said. If buys are delayed or moved to out years, the unit cost will come down but not by as much, he added.