The F-35 price is good enough to enter a new agreement signed with the Pentagon, according to officials at Lockheed Martin. The F-35 has been a controversial project, but its new cost has increased production.
The next two batches of the radar-evading jet will be built for the U.S., Australia, Italy, Norway and Britain.
The agreement will allow the U.S. Defence Department to purchase all 71 aircraft originally planned for those production phases, including those that were in jeopardy of being cut due to Washington’s sequestration budget impacts.
The F-35 will see successive price cuts of 4 percent each year, and increased production.
The average price tag for the current batch of F-35s is pegged at $120 million US, and Lockheed Martin officials say by mid-2015 the eight per cent price cut will be fully in effect.
Sticker shock and conflicting estimates have made the purchase of 65 F-35s a political lightning rod in Canada, where National Defence was accused of low-balling the liability to taxpayers.
The Harper government has put the purchase on hold while it evaluates whether to go to a full-blown competition to replace the air force’s CF-18 fleet.