Pentagon, Lockheed near deal on $9 bn F-35 contract: Sources

By: | Published: January 19, 2017 11:40 AM

The US Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin Corp are close to deal for a contract worth almost $9 billion as negotiations are poised to bring the price per F-35 below $100 million for the first time, people familiar with the talks said...

Talks are still ongoing for the tenth batch of stealthy fighter jets with a deal for 90 planes expected to be announced by the end of the month, three people said on condition of anonymity. (Reuters)Talks are still ongoing for the tenth batch of stealthy fighter jets with a deal for 90 planes expected to be announced by the end of the month, three people said on condition of anonymity. (Reuters)

The U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin Corp are close to deal for a contract worth almost $9 billion as negotiations are poised to bring the price per F-35 below $100 million for the first time, people familiar with the talks said Wednesday.

The F-35, the Pentagon’s costliest arms program, has drawn fire from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump who has made lowering prices for military equipment a pillar of his transition into office.

Talks are still ongoing for the tenth batch of stealthy fighter jets with a deal for 90 planes expected to be announced by the end of the month, three people said on condition of anonymity.

You May Also Want To Watch:

A Lockheed representative declined to comment and a representative for the fighter program said negotiations are ongoing.

The U.S. Defense Department expects to spend $391 billion in the coming decades to develop and buy 2,443 of the supersonic warplanes.

Though the F-35 program has been criticized by Trump as too expensive, the price per jet has already been declining. Lockheed, the prime contractor, and its partners have been working on building a more cost-effective supply chain to fuel the production line in Fort Worth, Texas.

The overtures from the incoming administration may have had some effect, but Lockheed’s F-35 program manager Jeff Babione said last summer that the price of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing version of the jet would drop to under $100 million per plane in this contract for the 10th low-rate production batch.

The F-35 comes in three configurations, the A-model for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. allies; a F-35 B-model which can handle short takeoffs and vertical landings for the Marine Corps and the British navy; and carrier-variant F-35C jets for the U.S. Navy.

Lockheed and its main partners, including Northrop Grumman Corp, United Technologies Corp’s Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems Plc, have been developing and building F-35s for the U.S. military and 10 allies.

On Oct. 25 Lockheed, the world’s largest defense contractor, reported a quarterly profit that handily beat analysts’ expectations, as sales of its Sikorsky helicopters pushed total revenue up 14.8 percent. Lockheed is set to host its fourth-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Switch to Hindi Edition