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Lockheed Martin is reporting that it may be able to double F-35 production in the coming years, which will help to drive costs down on the Joint Strike Fighter program by up to 30 percent. In a recent interview at the Paris Air Show, a Lockheed Martin executive cited increased U.S. production as well as orders from international buyers as the reason for the expected uptick in production.
From the Bloomberg article:
U.S. and international buyers will help spur output to more than 100 planes annually by about 2020 from 36 aircraft this year, Steve O’Bryan, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for the F-35 program, said in an interview at the Paris Air Show. Efficiencies from the growth will down a single fighter’s production costs to about $85 million then from $120 million now, he said.
“This is a program at a tipping point,” O’Bryan said. “I am cautiously optimistic.”
The U.S., which has bought 29 of the jets annually in recent years, will increase order volume in 2015, with purchases from abroad also helping drive deliveries. The eighth year of production is scheduled to include building F-35s for Norway, Italy, Japan and Israel. Lockheed Martin already has adequate production capacity in place to build 60 planes a year, O’Bryan said.
“We are ahead of that bow wave and we feel confident we can do that,” O’Bryan said.
To learn more about F-35 Lightning II production and costs associated with the program, visit F35.com.