Lockheed and its partners are eyeing new manufacturing techniques that they hope could trim $10 million from each plane’s price tag, bringing it to $80 million by 2019. (The Pentagon says each one currently costs $100 million.) Collectively, Lockheed, Northrop and BAE have invested $132 million to help reduce the cost of the planes, Rein said.
For example, Lockheed is experimenting with a new way to drill the F-35’s wings. Currently, water and oil are used to cool a robotic drill bit so it doesn’t overheat and break. It’s a messy process, with fluid dripping down each wing. The new way uses cryogenic machining — essentially, freezing the drill bit beforehand instead of cooling it as it goes, Rein said. The company spent $119,000 testing the process, which it says will save $400,000 per jet, saving $12 million over the life of the program.
SOURCE - Defense One