Lockheed reduces F-35 price in new Pentagon deal

The U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin Corp. have reached an $11.5 billion deal for 141 F-35 stealth fighter jets that brings the aircraft to its lowest price in program history.

Bethesda-based Lockheed (NYSE: LMT), the world’s largest defense contractor, said Friday the unit price in this 11th order batch for the F-35A, the most common version of the jet, is $89.2 million, 5.4 percent less than the $94.3 million price tag on the 10th batch.

Unit costs for the F-35B and F-35C in this order are $115.5 million (a 5.7 percent drop) and $107.7 million (an 11.1 percent reduction), respectively. 

The F-35 is the most expensive weapons program in Pentagon history, so the costs have come under careful scrutiny. A preliminary deal was struck in July to clear the way for a larger multiyear purchase that aims to bring the cost per jet down to $80 million by 2020. Friday’s announcement represents the culmination of those talks.

“Driving down cost is critical to the success of…

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