The F-35 program is ramping up production despite continuing operational problems and bugs. Within the next couple of years, between 12 and 15 F-35 jets will be built each month, doubling the current monthly manufacturing average of between 7 to 9 jets. Lockheed and the US military are racing to lock in the tens of billion for the planes.
The current batch of fighters rolling off the production line, referred to as Lot 10, has a price tag of $94 million per jet for the Air Force version and about $121 million per jet for the short takeoff and vertical landing version and the arrested landing versions to be used by the Marine Corps and Navy.
Winter’s staff is negotiating a contract for Lot 11 now. By 2020, according to Winter, the Pentagon and international customers are expected to start receiving jets from Lots 12, 13, and 14.
“As we get to Lot 14 and Lot 15, all three aircraft will be under $100 million,” Winter said.