December 2, 2008: Development costs for
the new U.S. F-35 fighter-bomber will now go up a third, to $60 billion. That
means the average development cost of the estimated 5,000 F-35s to be built,
will be about $12 million each. The additional development costs are
accompanied by an additional two years before the aircraft enters service.
Production costs will average about $84 million. With a share of development
costs, that makes the per aircraft cost $96 million.
Like the F-22 fighter, the F-35 is
stealthy, and is stuffed with lots of new technology. Most (about 60 percent)
of the F-35s will be used by foreign nations. The rising cost of the F-35
brings with it reluctance to buy as many aircraft currently planned. The
success of smart bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan has also made it clear that
fewer aircraft will be needed in the future. In any event, it's likely that F-35s
are end up costing more than $100 million each.