Lockheed Inks Two More F-35 Contracts

Lockheed Inks Two More F-35 Contracts

The U.S. Defense Department has finalized a deal with Lockheed Martin Corp. for two contracts worth $7.1 billion for 71 more F-35 fighter jets.

The Pentagon announced the agreement for the sixth and seventh batches of aircraft, excluding engines, after the close of business yesterday. Both the government and the Bethesda, Md.-based manufacturer of the plane — the world’s largest defense contractor — called it a “significant milestone” that takes into account efforts to reduce the program’s cost.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the U.S. military’s most expensive weapons acquisition program, estimated at $391 billion to develop and buy 2,457 of the fifth-generation, radar-evading fighter jets.

“With each successive production lot, unit costs have declined,” Lorraine Martin, a vice president at Lockheed and general manager of the F-35 program, said in an e-mailed statement. “That’s a trend we look forward to continuing as this program moves toward full rate production and operational maturity.”

It remains to be seen whether the cost reductions are enough to appease critics of the program on Capitol Hill. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, this month called the acquisition effort “worse than a disgrace” and “one of the great national scandals.”

His comments came just days after the Pentagon signaled an improving relationship with the contractor. Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the general overseeing the effort, said the relationship between the military and Lockheed, along with engine-maker Pratt & Whitney, part of United Technologies Corp., is “orders of magnitude” better than it was a year ago.

The contract for the sixth batch, or lot, is for 36 aircraft and valued at $4.4 billion — about 2.5 percent less than the existing agreement.

The arrangement calls for 23 F-35As, the Air Force’s version of the plane that takes off in a conventional manner, at $103 million apiece; 6 F-35Bs, the Marine Corps’ variant that can fly like a plane and lands like a helicopter, at $109 million a piece; and 7 F-35Cs, the Navy’s version designed to take off from aircraft carriers, at $120 million apiece.

Lockheed will begin delivering planes from this agreement — which marks the first F-35 jets for Italy and Australia — in the second quarter of 2014.

The contract for the seventh batch is for 35 aircraft and valued at $3.4 billion — about 6 percent less than the existing agreement. The deal calls for 24 F-35As for $98 million a jet; 7 F-35Bs for $104 million a jet; and 4 F-35Cs for $116 million a jet.

The company will begin delivering planes from this agreement — which marks the first F-35 jets for Norway — in the second quarter of 2015.

Under the terms of the deals, Lockheed will pay for all cost overruns. However, the company and the government will split the costs of any so-called concurrency changes arising from System Development and Demonstration testing and qualification. On the other hand, if expenses are less than projected, Lockheed will get 80 percent of savings and the government will get 20 percent.

The F135 jet engine, which powers the aircraft, is funded under a separate contract.

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Imagine paying going to a Chevy dealership to buy a new C7 Corvette Stingray and after you cut a check, the salesman hands you the key to the Corvette and asks whether you want the 6.2L DFI OHV-2v VVT V8 engine as it’s extra.

Lockheed’s win = Taxpayers LOSS

John McCain doesn’t have to be confined to a bamboo cage or endure mindless torture to resort to selling his country down the pipes, with his incessant critical assessment of how things are done, politically and defense related!!! Isn’t it about time McCain pack-it in, give us a rest and there certainly needs to be a fresh voice and not the endless criticism that he provides!!!

And yeah, I feel the F-35 is going to be just fine, it’s our incompetent leadership that’s lacking!!!

The target cost came down a smidgen. Remember that the total program cost had essentially doubled since 2001, so 100% — 2.5% = 97.5% over budget. Granted a gross oversimplification, but costs have to come down a lot more before I get excited — but at least they are on a downward trend. It looks like strong program leadership displayed by Venlet and Bogdan (more or less forcing the retirement of top LM F-35 officials) is finally making some progress — that and making LM financially responsible for most cost over runs. Hmmm… making the contractor pay for overruns, and suddenly the costs start to decline — must be magic.

“John McCain doesn’t have to be confined to a bamboo cage or endure mindless torture to resort to selling his country down the pipes,”

Wow really? Who the fuck are you to say that? Ever done a damn thing for your country? Every been tortured so bad your body is shorter and crippled? Then after that refused to go home because your father was a admiral and could get you out early But stayed with the other guys? No didn’t think so.

Disagree with the man all you want that’s fine. Start that shit and your lower than dog shit boy.

I swear people have turned into fucking asses the last 7–8 years. No class, No boundries, No sense. Learn some fucking respect.

I apologize if i’m a bit rough here but fuck. Come on people.

They don’t mention the price of the engines. The latest contract was for 38 engines a mere 1 billion. Looks like only an extra 26 million a plane.

worst still, getting a car the “dealership” said would do:
–0–60 in 3.5 seconds but in reality does it in 10 seconds
–has a 500 hp engine, but in reality has a 90 hp engine
–gets 20 mpg but in reality only gets 10 mpg
–costs $50,000 but in reality costs $473,569 (once all of the extra features are added in) and that doesn’t include the require software upgrades to actually make it drivable.
–promises a true 5th gen sports car but in reality you find out the next Lexus will kick our car’s ass
–then you find out the special “stealthy” paint really isn’t that stealthy at all, Anyone can “see” you car.
–Worst still, you are forced to buy this car because your local politician says so.

Look on the bright side. At least now the F-35 is actually cheaper than additional copies of the F-22 would have been.
All criticism aside, the F-35 will be a fair attack aircraft and it will probably be able to defend itself from most adversaries on a nearly equal basis. It will never be a peer to the F-22 but it wasn’t designed to be one.
Once they get past the LRIP stage the price might actually come down to something under $100Mn including the F-135 engine. And down the road, some of the performance shortfalls will probably be improved, albeit not to the levels initially promised.
With Korea looking to buy the F-35 now instead of the F-22SE, the Lightning is probably going to hobble along and have a modestly successful run. Which is pathetic because if the Pentagon had simply made it a joint Air Force and Navy attack aircraft they could have had a much better aircraft. But forcing the STOVL capability into the F-35B severely diminished the overall utility of the airframe.

Not included in this are other DOD LRIP-6 and 7 contract for long-lead parts and other tooling.

Interesting is that 12 years after contract award for Lockheed winning the JSF competition, there are still no credible, working, go to war mission systems.

And then the manufacturer, reply:
>0–60 in 3.5 seconds but in reality does it in 10 seconds
That’s the fault of the driver. With some subsequent upgrade, even your worst driver will do it in 3.5s.

>has a 500 hp engine, but in reality has a 90 hp engine
We told you it would vary slightly depending of the altitude and the level of pollution. Again, even though we do not recommend, your car can tow 10,000lbs, which give 13,180lbs. Which mean you got between 27.62 and 153.44444444444444 lbs/hp but generally it’s between 153.44444444444444 and 120.0869565217391304347826 (115hp) lbs/hp. We told you that all those number would be meaningless, you said it was fine as long as we get it working. We did.

[1]We also insist that you said it was ok to not give the optimal throughput in every scenario, as long as it was giving consistent performance most of the time, which according to standards we did.

>gets 20 mpg but in reality only gets 10 mpg
Our design require the world best fuel available to get this fuel efficiency, which is unmatched by the competition. Shall I repeat [1]?

>costs $50,000 but in reality costs $473,569 (once all of the extra features are added in) and that doesn’t include the require software upgrades to actually make it drivable.
It can be driven. Our products cost you more because of what you are doing with them; you never said how much it should cost when it’s loaded. For the software, you’ve removed these feature as mandatory to get your car sooner, sir. We didn’t ask and we executed. We are saving a good deal of money that way. And we vow to get your car ready sooner.

[2]At this point, you might want to consider a better driver. Our design tool perfectly simulated all the human actions required and computed the results. The result we got are authentic; your driver need to practice his drill, sir.

>promises a true 5th gen sports car but in reality you find out the next Lexus will kick our car’s ass
We remind you that you did not operate our products in optimal conditions. Shall I repeat [2]?

>then you find out the special “stealthy” paint really isn’t that stealthy at all, Anyone can “see” you car.
Not true at all, our product did performed as required against the typical police radar that you determined. We cannot be held responsible in their increase in capability.

Imagine a thread where the commenters don’t make incredibly simplistic and irrelevant comparisons between buying a pre-defined, massed produced, and derivative commercial products bought off the shelf versus what it takes to acquire advanced technology you want to have designed and created for you — something with all the features you THINK a) you need and b) are possible to develop and achieve at a certain price point. Imagine then those same commenters discussing intelligently how capability tradeoffs are decided: determining what is actually feasible and needed as the design proceeds and unknowns become known and discussion the pros and cons of options as decisions are made as to what capabilities are worth adding more funds and schedule to achieve, or what capabilities can be deferred or determined not to be necessary. Imagine that.….if you can.

What alternate dimension is this? You mean to tell me buying a jet fighter isn’t like buying a corvette?

Belesari: Your Spot On!!!

ziv: correct me if wrong 9/2 issue of def. news has ROK eyein’ 60 F-15 “Silent Eagles” “LM & eurofighter , which vied for the US $7.4 Bill. fighter contract failed to submit proposals below the budget”.…did things change.… as well as the Aussie’s reducin’ the #‘s of F-35 their buyin.?????

Korea’s procurement agency decided to withdraw their RFP after an intense lobbying / media relations effort by LM and USG officials — and some pot sweeteners like offering sats and enhanced assistance with a certain domestic aircraft program. Doubtful that other vendors will resubmit proposals considering the agency’s lack of good faith.

Image doing it for an F-18 or F-22 and being told you have to buy two engines? Or did you think they came with the engines? That’s funny.

They don’t mention the price of the engines for the F-15, F-16, F-18, or F-22 either.

Two F414s cost less than one F135 by 40% — F414: $4.5M, F135: $14.6M

Thank you for the only rational comment in this blog, sir.

I still think the YF-23 was a better plane than the F-22 anyway.

Imagine that .… one 46 word sentence, followed by a 63 word sentence. If that is how LM put together the design document for the F-35, then I’m no longer surprised at the cost overruns.


F414 has been in full-rate production for how many years now?

I see what you did there…

According to the GEaviation website, it entering in service in 1998. Note how it either provide 20% more thrust or a 20% longer lifespan, all while keeping the cost pretty much the same of the f-404, if not identical. That’s where an incremental approach provide its benefits.

Yes at some time a whole new design will be required, but if that engine is to cost 3+ time the cost and is designed to be mass produced then IMHO this is not a good idea. If that was for a niche aircraft then it’s just fine, as even a cost increase would be not globally be too significant as it should not jeopardize the viability of the project as there are no expectation of volume saving.

It also exclude the necessity to attain a fairly low cost at a given deadline like the f135 do. It’s a great engine, it got a lot of potential; but it’s too ambitious, something more modest should have been considered in the near term, and them implement the actual f135 when technological innovation make it available for a similar price.

I screwed up a bit. Such deceptive tactics are not my specialty; some part could have been more in line with what is really done in industry in general, or just more realistic.

A team of highly specialized monkey could probably push the envelope in opposed direction –providing technical innovation while improving benefits and still taking some shortcut that are not in the interest of the customer– just like real company do. But such notion of “service” always escaped me a little bit.

Hmm F135 is a development of the $10M F119 which powers the F-22, so yea core components of the F135 have been around for quite a while.

Yet it’s 2+ time that price which mean that they try to take another giant step over it. They are lucky that the plane is late, otherwise they would be in big, big trouble by now. 10 to 15 Millions extra while all the rest of the plane also cost more than expected. That’s more than twice the expected price isn’t it?

This all add up and the difference is big. That engine could send the f-35 in the space, or on the moon yet it will remain too expensive. This *has* to be mas-produced. It has to be affordable. It should cost no more than the f119, more of less a few percent.

I just heard on an interview that Lockheed farmed out the parts for the F-35 across no less than 46 states (out of 50) in the union. So no matter what, the corporate welfare program isn’t going to get cancelled no matter how badly the taxpayers are going to get ripped off, no matter the lousy performance, lousy test results, or lousy chances of winning a war with these incapable aircraft.

Hence — Congress is willing to sell out the national security of the USA.

The f135 engine have yet to cost “only” $14.6M. The cost of lrip6 is said to be reduced between 2.5%(32 engines) and 9.6%(6 STOVL engine), which mean that they still cost more than $20M each if not more than twice what it’s supposed to be.

And the Northrop engineers on the –23 paid attention to the full picture of signature management.

Stealth isn’t just about radar frequency signature management. It includes the full spectrum. A full spectrum which has infrared.

I was enormously impressed upon looking at the very carefully designed engine exhausts on the –23. Not what you want for dogfighting, but great for thermal stealth. And to anyone who was paying attention at the time, the 21st century air combat environment was not going to be about dogfighting. (And guess what, it’s not.)

The engine exhaust and the IR signature management on the F-35 are a trainwreck.

Note that there was an article in AvLeak a few months ago in which it was noted that one of the fastest advancing air combat sensor technologies is… IRST. It’s getting amazingly, scarily good. So in that context, a jet that has ongoing internal temperature problems, with an enormously hot engine and a giant thermal plume, is just what the doctor ordered.

If the F-35 ever sees combat (some time in the next decade), you have to figure that the majority of the losses are going to be to bone-simple thermoseeker AAMs.

You’re getting that from Reuters which said “over one billion.”

Anyhow, the actual price of these planes is over 200 million dollars.

You say that like it’s the first time it’s happened. That’s normal for these programs going back 30 years.

Pentagon PR Procurement propaganda
F-35A $98m
F-35B $104m
F-35C $116m

FY2014 Procurement Program Budget Request
F-35A $176m
F-35B $237m
F-35C $236m

Navy on p. N-3, AF p. F-4 http://​comptroller​.defense​.gov/​d​e​f​b​u​d​g​e​t​/​f​y​2​0​1​4/a

Well, this time, according to the interviewee, this one is far more insidious than previous programs.

Time and time again, I am reminded of Eisenhower’s warnings w/r/t the MIC.

Thank you. The F-35 is not comparable to the F-22 but to the Typhoon and other 4th. and 5th. generation aircraft it will spank them. The F-16 had tons of problems and it was frond upon and now look it’s being retired as one of the most respectable fighter aircraft. As for the cost your building three aircraft in the same program. So divide that number by three and that is more realistic._ And I agree with the statement, “The F-35 is going to be just fine, it’s our incompetent leadership that’s lacking!!!”

Because John McCain was mindlessly tortured, doesn’t give him the green light to be stupid, he’s become increasingly irrational and should retire!!!

By-the-way, apparently what I did 66–69 qualified me for Veterans Benefits, really it did!!! Oh, no need to apologize, just get some needed therapy. Your forced outrage seems a little over-the-top and may require medication…

For the record, I’ve read “Faith Of My Fathers” twice and have all the respect in the World for what McCain endured, so please calm down, I’m totally aware!!!

The biggest defense news story of the day should be the impact of government shutdown on national defense. Wake up, DoDBuzz.

Whoa big fella. Keep your powder dry. McCain is not against the F-35. He is extorting something else he wants, something that benefits him more directly. He is not crazy or mindless, just selfish.

Don’t buy the hype. These so-called reductions are in the noise. The costs of the modification lines to bring these jets up to standard will be more than these “reductions”. Contractors do not pay for overruns. They get the money back somehow because otherwise they can’t pay their bills. It’s bad PR for them at the worst, and may affect the politics, but if forced to pay the biblical overruns of the past or just the run-of-the-mill underestimates of the future, they are still out of business. Nope, it doesn’t happen unless the government wants them out of business.

I’m with you on all that stuff, but here’s the thing. Somebody signed off on those pros and cons and trade studies and feasibilities blah blah. They were massively wrong in what was possible in the time and budget. Because their arrogance, or optimism, or corruption was so wrong, and the project went on anyway because of more questionable decisions, we will get more of it. I am imagining the consequences of a decision making process that rewards incompetence. Are they also incompetent in assessing the threats?

I see where you’re going with the question, and it’s something interesting to ponder, but my sense of it is that if anything, the motivation would be to exaggerate the threat, and thus secure more lucrative development contracts for industry.

Are you aware that the aft deck nozzle on the YF-23 was a train wreck? It is a bad enough problem on the B-2, but an afterburning application with thrust vectoring? That invention would need some development, eh? I once heard an Irv Waaland comment on an aft deck nozzle design for a study aircraft under review. This was about the time of the ATF flyoff. Looking at the tree-view drawing, he said: “Can’t you put that nozzle where God intended”, meaning at the extreme aft end of the jet. That is difficult enough, I’m sure. Why take the increased development risk of an aft deck nozzle?

Of course they did, and it is not all bad. Actually, it is necessary. It gives some stability to a program. Of course, that assume the program has merit and deserves the stability ;)


What I was saying? I was thinking quoting part of that report but I would end up copying the whole thing. Yes it’s “old” and most of it might be being fixed but it remain unacceptable. They ought to pay for it.

“The Learning Management System included 80 employees with expired
certifications such as ejection seat installation and removal, F-35 egress system safety,
and explosives care, handling, and storage. In addition, employee training plans
identified training certifications that were not required for the jobs those employees
were performing. In another example, 37 operators were working on flight hardware
in a foreign object debris/damage (FOD)-control area without current certifications.
Asubsequent major finding, noted later in this report (see paragraph 7.5.5), documented
that FOD was discovered in FOD-critical and FOD-control areas. ”

Yeah just like big corporation do. That is client oriented “service”. :/

You may SMSgt Mac is a dreamer.. but he’s not the only one. I hope some day you will join him, and the world will be as one.

to PW: Thanks for the reminder, but it does no good. Everyone thinks they are the good guys. Besides, Ike’s background is the M in MIC. His famous D day couldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the I in MIC. He wanted to include C in his warning, as in Congress, but wimped out. He conveniently did not mention E, for Executive branch because he was POTUS. So I think his warning may have been a complaint about political opposition more than anything. Here’s the AC warning: There is no substitute for competent people of good will making the best decisions, and letting the chips fall. If you can find someone like that in DC, I got a maternity ward full of virgins to show ya.

Thanks Don. Although I like to quote the fly away cost instead, which is less, but I get your meaning. Press releases about F-35 costs are deception. The media must be in on it because they have the procurement requests just like we do. It’s easy as elementary arithmetic. Look for the line that has the procurement cost, then go over to the column that says quantity. Divide procurement by quantity and voila, cost per item. It ain’t rocket science.

I woke up from my nap and started calculating. Effect on National Defense = 0.0

You’d think that after building 5 lots it would actually be a fixed price contract. But no, there is just cost share on overruns. This means that these are target prices not the real and final price. Also, as pointed out, this still is not a tested go to war aircraft so hwho knows what the final price will be. This must be the most insane contracting practice in the history of DoD acquisition. Is it any wonder that we are going broke?

Where have you gone John McCain, the Nation turns its lonely eyes to you, woo, woo , woo…

nah. you’re still sleeping.

John McCain? YGBSM

I was.

The epitome of irony will be when LM announces it can no longer afford to provide sufficient health care coverage for most of its employees and they all have to sign up for Obamacare.

are you refering to the F-15 Silent Eagle„,a stealthy less expensive advanced aircraft? We cannot sell the F-22 by orders of Congress

It was faster and more stealthy„it just didn’t have vectoring engines so it lost out in the tight turns


Hey, not bad and not even rough around the edges when talking about the biggest Welfare Recipient in the world.____Who is checking the parts list for the usual humongous well hidden way over cost items that will soon put the welfare baby in the trillion dollar baby buggy? Will DOD allow for the FOIA to interfere with the hidden Billions when DOD can’t even find someone to develop a workable long range IED detector. Well just shrink wrap that baby buggy like DOD did with the uncounted for Billions sent to Iraq and sprinkle it with some of those Afghanistan Poppy seeds and watch that Locked Martin baby buggy grow to 2 Trillion. __

Boy are we getting screwed again. We are getting a 20/80 split. We get the 20 they get the 80. What about we get the 80 and they get the 20, or we go somewhere else to buy.

Also how would you also like to pay GM for the corvette engine R and D like P and W charged the taxpayer for. Oh wait we also support GM or government motors anyway also​.GE offered to fully fund on its own the alternate engine for competition and the government would not allow it for the F-35.

109 Million a piece ??? What a deal !!!!

for Lockheed.

With the exchanges, I wouldn’t be surprised if more companies didn’t start shedding company health insurance too. Pensions are almost extinct, so company health is next.

More money for the dividend check. Yay!

I’m very much afraid that we are seeing the end of the USA as a world power. The F-35 project is as perfect an example of institutionalized corruption as one could ever have imagined.

The project should have been cancelled many years ago — I don’t believe that the plane will ever work. The Marines have stated that they will place it into operation in Dec. 2015 before their OT even starts. Our country has slid into disaster over the last 50 years, and we are reaping the reward of placing our faith in the almighty dollar instead of Almighty God.

God help us .….


No it can’t fly​.No, it can’t fight. It’s suitable for probably nothing. It will never work.



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