F-35 Lightning gets foreign orders

Hidden in all the late-breaking political hoopla Friday afternoon, when the media was in another Trump feeding frenzy over White House musical chairs, was an announcement by the F-35 Joint Program Office that a $3.69-billion contract for the F-35 Lightning had officially been awarded to Lockheed-Martin for its 5th-generation fighter.  Interestingly, around two thirds of that order went to foreign buyers:

Most of the money, $2.2 billion, goes to buy one British F-35B, one ItalianF-35A, eight Australian F-35As, eight Dutch F-35As, four Turkish F-35As, six Norwegian F-35As aircraft, and 22 F-35As for Foreign Military Sales customers.

I say interestingly, because when I wrote a piece a few weeks ago about how my own assessment of this aircraft was changing after reading how awed pilots are who actually have flown the plane in simulated air combat against ground anti-aircraft defenses and aggressor air forces, a few obviously knowledgeable commenters expressed some doubt that the foreign buyers would come through on their agreed upon  acquisitions.  Those purchases, they correctly noted, were going to be needed to drive down the overall unit cost of the F-35, which, in excess of $100 million per copy, has been the primary criticism of the aircraft.  If the numbers published by Breaking Defense are correct, then it looks as if the foreign purchasers are getting their birds for less than $50 million a copy.  Of course, that $2.2 billion could represent partial payment.  It also includes no Israeli aircraft, and that country has said it alone will purchase fifty F-35s in their various iterations, with other countries saying they'll order almost twice that number if the price comes down.

Whatever.  It's a good sign for the American taxpayer that plenty of foreign governments are buying in on the Lightning.  For a complete account on planned total purchases by country, go here: Look Who's Buying Lockheed Martin's F-35 Now.

Hidden in all the late-breaking political hoopla Friday afternoon, when the media was in another Trump feeding frenzy over White House musical chairs, was an announcement by the F-35 Joint Program Office that a $3.69-billion contract for the F-35 Lightning had officially been awarded to Lockheed-Martin for its 5th-generation fighter.  Interestingly, around two thirds of that order went to foreign buyers:

Most of the money, $2.2 billion, goes to buy one British F-35B, one ItalianF-35A, eight Australian F-35As, eight Dutch F-35As, four Turkish F-35As, six Norwegian F-35As aircraft, and 22 F-35As for Foreign Military Sales customers.

I say interestingly, because when I wrote a piece a few weeks ago about how my own assessment of this aircraft was changing after reading how awed pilots are who actually have flown the plane in simulated air combat against ground anti-aircraft defenses and aggressor air forces, a few obviously knowledgeable commenters expressed some doubt that the foreign buyers would come through on their agreed upon  acquisitions.  Those purchases, they correctly noted, were going to be needed to drive down the overall unit cost of the F-35, which, in excess of $100 million per copy, has been the primary criticism of the aircraft.  If the numbers published by Breaking Defense are correct, then it looks as if the foreign purchasers are getting their birds for less than $50 million a copy.  Of course, that $2.2 billion could represent partial payment.  It also includes no Israeli aircraft, and that country has said it alone will purchase fifty F-35s in their various iterations, with other countries saying they'll order almost twice that number if the price comes down.

Whatever.  It's a good sign for the American taxpayer that plenty of foreign governments are buying in on the Lightning.  For a complete account on planned total purchases by country, go here: Look Who's Buying Lockheed Martin's F-35 Now.