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Avalon 2017: JSF Unit Cost to Reduce to U$80 Million by 2020

JSF programme under the Trump administration

Head of the International F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), Lt.Gen. Chris Bogdan, has called for the unit cost of an F-35A LIGHTNING II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to fall to U$80 million (€75.9 million) by 2020.

Bogdan was speaking on the opening day of the 2017 Australian International Air Show At Avalon on February 28 and was responding to questions from the media about the future of the JSF programme under the Trump administration.

We have promised that an F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take Off and Landing) aircraft will cost less than $85 million in 2019, but that’s not enough,” Lt.Gen. Bogdan said. “I think we need to be looking at an $80 million airplane over that timeframe and I think we can get there.”

Bogdan also said that ‘pretty significant events’ regarding the F-35 programme were achieved in 2016, giving him confidence that the project is moving in the right direction.

I first came to Australia in 2013 and I can tell you that the F-35 is a very, very different programme to what it was then,” he said. “There are risks, there are things that we need to sort out and we have challenges. Software will always be a risk on this programme, but the good news is that we’ve made a lot of progress over the last year or so and we have a good understanding of what problems remain and what we need to do to fix them.”

Australia has 72 F-35A JSF on order and the first two will make their debut at Avalon on Friday.

The two aircraft are currently based at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and are being flown to Avalon to participate the static display to in the Royal Australian Air Force’s 5th generation vision for the future, known as ‘Plan Jericho’, it’s roadmap for future air power capability.

Head of Joint Strike Fighter at Australia’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), Air Vice Marshal Leigh Gordon said that the F-35 was the only aircraft in the world today that will fill Australia’s future air capability needs. “Australia is on schedule to deliver Initial Operational Capability (IOC), to budget, in December 2020,” he said. “Since government approval in 2014, there has not been an increase to cost or a delay on this programme.”

Nigel Pittaway


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