Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35 joint program office, has said the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 fighter aircraft has been on budget and on schedule since his office restructured the program in 2011, Breaking Defense reported Monday.
Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. writes Bogdan’s remarks are in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s comment that the F-35 program’s cost “was out of control.”
He noted that a contract for the low-rate initial production of lot 9 F-35s will procure a total of 57 aircraft that includes 34 jets for the U.S. and 23 for allied countries such as Norway, Japan, Italy, Israel and the U.K.
Bogdan said that the LRIP lot 9 contract represents a 5.5 percent drop in prices for the F-35A variant, 1.8 percent decline for F-35Bs and a 2.5 percent rise for F-35Cs compared with the previous lot, Freedberg reports.
He associated the 2.5 percent price increase in F-35Cs with the U.S. Navy’s decision to reduce its procurement of the variant to two under the latest lot from four under LRIP lot 8.
Bogdan said his team aims to reduce the cost of F-35 from $102 million apiece to less than $85 million per aircraft by 2018, according to a report by Doug Cameron and Paul Sonne for the Wall Street Journal.
He also noted that ethical issues are not the cause of the program’s problems in the past and that the fighter jet’s capabilities should not be reduced as part of cost-cutting efforts, the report added.