American arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin
is about to finalize a major deal to sell hundreds of its F-35 Lightning II fighter jets to the US and 10 other governments, a new report has revealed.
The new contract is worth more than $37 billion and includes a record 440 F-35s, Reuters reported Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.
One official said the new contract was part of Lockheed’s new approach to lower the aircraft’s costs by replacing annual purchases with more economic multi-year deals.
The sources said the exact price of each unit had yet to be finalized but the average price for the 440 jets was expected to be around $85 million.
The jets will be delivered in three portions over fiscal years 2018-2020, the report added.
The report came after the last week meeting in Baltimore between representatives of 11 customers—Australia, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, South Korea, Britain and the US.
Lockheed and its customers are currently disusing the procurement of 135 or more jets in fiscal year 2018 for delivery in 2020 at a price per unit of #88 million, according to sources.
The figure would rise to 150 and more in the subsequent fiscal years 2019 and 2020, while the price would drop down to $85 million and $80 million respectively.
With an overall cost of around $400 billion, the so-called Joint Strike Fighter has overblown its budget.
The attempts to cut down the cost were sped up after US President Donald Trump objected to the “tremendous cost and cost overruns.”
Back then, he also asked Boeing to offer a price for an alternative to the expensive stealth fighter jet.
The mostly software-driven aircraft has been grounded on several occasions due to programming bugs and hardware issues.
Earlier this month, it was reported that oxygen deprivation problems for at least five American pilots have led to suspension of flights by an F-35 fighter wing in the US state of Arizona.
Despite the flaws, the aircraft have so far been deployed to Japan and Europe.