Fighter Jet Costs Jump 50%, Triggering Congressional Review and Lockheed Defense

Saturday, March 13, 2010
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is getting too expensive for its own good. The combat aircraft was supposed to cost $50 million per plane to produce, according to the Department of Defense in 2001 when it said it planned to buy 2,852 of them. Now, the overall order from defense contractor Lockheed Martin has been downsized to 2,443 planes, which has caused the price tag to jump dramatically. Instead of paying $50.2 million for each F-35, the Pentagon will fork over $80 million to $95 million per jet, while the Government Accountability Office estimates the true cost will be more like $112 million.

Because the cost has jumped by more than 50%, the program—which is two and a half years behind schedule—must now undergo an automatic congressional review, per the 1982 Nunn-McCurdy cost-control law. Lawmakers agreed to kill another expensive fighter program, the F-22, because Secretary of Defense Robert Gates argued the F-35 was a better deal.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Fighter Jet's Costs Jump More Than 50 Percent (by Megan Scully, Congress Daily)
Cost of F-35 Has Risen 60% to 90%, Military Says (by Christopher Drew, New York Times)


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