There will be no low price simply because there will not be 3000 aircraft made to-schedule. It is possible that we will only see a few hundred produced before the program ends.
Here is a snapshot of what is facing the mistake-jet factory. F-35 production freeze ... or new ice age?
The Senate's appropriations subcommittee now wants to extend the 32-aircraft production plateau into LRIP-7. According to Davis' chart in 2008, the DoD planned to buy 90 F-35s in FY2013, with the partners chipping in for another 42 aircraft.
If the Senate's proposal sticks, F-35 production could be frozen at 32 aircraft for four years straight.
Interesting when you compare it to 2003.
2003 Plan (only 6 LRIP batches).
LRIP 1 starts in 2006 for 10 aircraft
LRIP 2 starts in 2007 for 22 aircraft
LRIP 3 starts in 2008 for 54 aircraft
LRIP 4 starts in 2009 for 91 aircraft
LRIP 5 starts in 2010 for 120 aircraft
LRIP 6 starts in 2011 for 168 aircraft
Total LRIP for 2003 plan: 465 aircraft.
This is the core principle propping up the hopes and dreams of thousands of aircraft at $45 mil (pick the dumb quoted low number, there were many) each.
It gets worse when problems are white-washed.
How about this in 2008 from the fan-boy cheerleaders? Australian Defence Magazine (ADM). JSF: "no miracle needed"
No miracles are required for the Joint Strike Fighter to meet Australia's schedule for entry into service, according to Lockheed Martin.
The chances of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter meeting the RAAF's schedule, budget and capability targets are "good and getting better", according to Tom Burbage, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and leader of its JSF team.
Burbage was bullish in a presentation to Australian journalists at Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth plant in Texas in early-December last year. But he acknowledged the uncertainty created by the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defence Review and the annual horse-trading between the Pentagon, Congress and the White House over US defence budgets when he added that Lockheed Martin, as prime contractor for the Joint Strike Fighter, has no control over political processes currently under way which could affect the JSF program.
Nevertheless, he told the Australian media contingent that no miracles are needed for the F-35 to meet Australia's schedule, budget and capability requirements and that he personally was very optimistic.
Presently the Unit Recurrent Flyaway Cost of a Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) F-35A is about US$45 million in FY2002 dollars, but Lockheed is aiming to bring this down, Burbage said. On current plans Australia's first F-35A will be handed over in May 2012 with others following later that year. These aircraft will be manufactured as part of the fourth batch of Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) F-35s and Australia will be one of the first of the eight international partners to receive its aircraft.
Too funny. And, many times with defence topics, the term "Australian journalist" is an oxymoron.