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Jan 04

A nice compilation of recent low rate initial production figures at Defense Industry Daily–no indication costs are coming down that I can see. The US is actually buying fewer planes in lot 6 than in lot 5, including fewer F-35As (18 vs 21, that’s the version the RCAF wants):

F-35 Lightning: The Joint Strike Fighter Program, 2012 – 2013

F-35 Contracts & Decisions

Dec 28/12: LRIP-6. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a not-to-exceed $3.678 billion unfinalized modification to the low rate initial production lot 6 advance acquisition contract. It covers 29 planes: 18 F-35As, 6 F-35Bs, and 7 USN F-35Cs, plus “all associated ancillary mission equipment.” LRIP-6 contracts to date total $5,536.8 million [emphasis added], and include:

  • Dec 28/12: $3,677.9 (main 29: 18 F-35A, 6 F-35B, 7 F-35C)
  • Dec 28/12: $735.4 (support)
  • Dec 6/12: $386.7 (long-lead)
  • June 15/12: $489.5 (long-lead 35: 18 F-35A, 6 F-35B, 4 F-35C; 3 F-35A Italy, 2 F-35A Turkey, 1 F-35B Britain)
  • March 12/12: $38.6 (F-35A long-lead)
  • Feb 9/12: $14.6 (F-35B long-lead)
  • Jan 6/12: $194.1 (engines)

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (35%); El Segundo, CA (25%); Warton, United Kingdom (20%); Orlando, FL (10%); Nashua, NH (5%); and Baltimore, MD (5%), and is expected to be complete in February 2015. $1.839 billion is committed immediately (N00019-11-C-0083)…

Dec 14/12: LRIP-5. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $127.7 million fixed-price-incentive-fee and cost-plus-incentive-fee modification, finalizing the F-35′s LRIP Lot 5 contract for 32 planes. This contract also includes funds for manufacturing support equipment; 2 program array assemblies; ancillary mission equipment, including pilot flight equipment; preparation for ferrying the aircraft; and redesign to change parts with diminishing manufacturing sources.

Some news reports place the contract’s figures at $3.8 billion, but a review of past contracts, and conversation with Lockheed Martin, show that the entire LRIP-5 is actually $5.15 billion [emphasis added]. The distribution also differs from Reuters’ report: it’s 21 F-35As, 4 F-35Bs, and 7 F-35Cs. Past awards, in millions, include:

  • Dec 14/12: $127.7 (finalize)
  • Aug 6/12: $209.8 (spares)
  • Apr 13/12: $258.8 (add 1 F-35B, 1 F-35C for USA)
  • March 12/12: $56.4 (support of delivery schedule)
  • Dec 27/11: $485 (production requirements, incl. some tooling)
  • Dec 9/11: $4,011.9 (initial 30: 21 F-35A, 3 F-35B, 6 F-35C)

So $5.15 billion is the entire contract LRIP-5 so far, including planes, spares/support and tooling/ manufacturing investments (PNR). The support and PNR pieces are still unfinalized and in negotiations, so the figure could climb slightly higher. For the planes themselves, the announced figures add up to about $4.398 billion ($4,011.9 + 258.8 + 127.7), or an average of $137.45 million per plane [engines do not appear included in that unit cost].

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (35%); El Segundo, CA (25%); Warton, United Kingdom (20%); Orlando, FL (10%); Nashua, NH (5%); and Baltimore, MD (5%), and is expected to be completed in October 2014. All contract funds were committed on award, and $112.9 million will expire on Sept 30/12 (N00019-10-C-0002)…

Related:

F35: Pentagon LRIP 5 “Agreement in Principle”/USAF 6th Gen. Fighter Thinking

F-35: Meanwhile in the US and Australia

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

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