In addition to the price reduction of type A, type B and type C are also in the process of price reduction, which are US $101.3 million and US $94.4 million respectively in 14 batches, compared with that of 11 batches, which are all over 12%. The figure shows the key points of this contract officially released by Lockheed Martin company.
According to Loma, by the time of the 14th batch, the single unit price of f-35a fighters will be reduced to 77.9 million US dollars, the first time falling below 80 million US dollars, about 12.8% lower than that of the 11th batch, which is expected to reach the lowest price in history.
However, it should be noted that what is shown here should be the departure unit price, that is, the price at the time of ex factory delivery, while the type A is actually 89.3 million US dollars per aircraft after integrating some contract procedure factors. Loma propagandizes that the f-35a price is less than 80 million US dollars, which is actually based on the factory price. Moreover, the 478 aircraft had already been produced in the form of advance payment before the signing of this contract, so the total cost of production is not only 34 billion dollars on the paper of the contract.
Loma also stated the actual sales price under the price list, but it was indeed reduced.
As we know, the F-35 fighters are divided into three types: A, B and C. their structures and uses are different and their prices are different.
The f-35a is a conventional model mainly used by the air force. It only has the traditional take-off and landing capabilities and the largest number of purchases. In this contract, nearly seven Chengdu models are type A, so the purchase cost is also the lowest of the three types of modifications.
The f-35a is the only one of the three variants to be equipped with an air gun in the fuselage.
The F-35B is mainly used by the Marine Corps and some aircraft carriers with special needs. It is the first supersonic stealth fighter with short takeoff / vertical landing capability in the world. By adding a vector thrust nozzle that can bend down 90 degrees to the F135 engine, and setting a two-stage counter rotation lift engine in the front of the fuselage, this special power layout is realized Short takeoff and vertical landing functions.
The F-35B took off from the amphibious assault ship, with a lift fan on its back visible.
The U.S. military plans to replace the old AV-8B vertical take-off and landing aircraft with the B-type on the amphibious assault ship of the Marine Corps. Its purchase quantity is much less than that of type A. in addition, its structure is more complex, which pushes up the purchase price. Therefore, it is the most expensive one among the three modifications.
In mid October this year, the US amphibious assault ship America carried more than ten F-35B fighters for ocean training, which has become a light carrier.
The f-35c is mainly used by naval aviation, and the Marine Corps will also be equipped with a small part of it. Compared with the other two modifications, the C-type has wider foldable wings, stronger landing gear and larger internal fuel capacity, which will be used to replace the F / A-18E / F Super Hornet carrier based fighter. Although it is not as complex as type B, its demand is not large at this stage, so the purchase price is only slightly lower than type B.
F-35c, long folding wing is its outstanding appearance feature.
When it comes to the cost of F-35 production, it is necessary to review the U.S. militarys choice of F-22 and F-35 in that year. In 2012, the U.S. Department of defense made statistics and estimates. The purchase cost of F-22 fighter plus the cost of early R & D and testing totaled 66.7 billion dollars, while F-22 produced 187, that is to say, the comprehensive cost of each plane after equal sharing was about 360 million dollars. In the same period, the total cost of F-35 procurement plus R & D and testing costs was about $328.2 billion, far exceeding the total cost of F-22.
But the F-22 can only be used by the US air force, while the F-35 can not only be used by the US air force, navy and Marine Corps, but also be exported to the international market. In the same period, the estimated order quantity of F-35 reached more than 2400, and each of them was about 140 million US dollars, nearly 60% lower than that of F-22, which is the power of scale effect.
The F-22 and F-35 are both the fifth generation advanced fighters, but their fate is quite different. The cost factor is one of the important backgrounds. In addition, there are other factors that will not be discussed in this paper.
When the first batch of F-35 production model came off the production line, the price was terrifying, about $279 million. However, with the gradual formation of production scale, the flight unit price of each production batch was gradually reduced. By the time of the 10th batch of production models in 2017, model a had dropped to US $94.6 million, model B to US $122.8 million, and model C to US $121.8 million, which had fallen below the US $100 million mark. So this one-time signing of up to three batches, more than 400 fighters of the big contract is also to further lower the purchase price.
Once this agreement is established, it will be the largest F-35 production contract in history, and the price of the aircraft will be the lowest, the head of Lomas F-35 project said in a statement just in June The figure shows the F-35 production line.
In its official press release, Loma stressed that it had achieved the f-35a unit price target of less than US $80 million in 2019, a year earlier than planned, and said that this means customers can get the F-35 five generation machine at a price lower than the mainstream four generation machine.
If we only compare the departure unit price, the F / A-18E / F fighter with a price of about 79.8 million US dollars has been more expensive than the f-35a, and the typhoon and gust in Europe are also more expensive than the A, and their comprehensive combat capability and f-35a have formed generation difference, which is one of the main reasons that Loma dares to publicize.
The f-35c carrier aircraft is the first fifth generation stealth carrier aircraft specially designed in the world. The figure shows the f-35c tested on the carrier and the main f / A-18E / F fighter of the current carrier aircraft.
However, it should also be noted that the F-35 project has not been smooth from the beginning, and now the biggest obstacle is that it is difficult to enter the fast production stage (FRP) as soon as possible. At least in the three batches involved in this contract, it can only linger in the low speed initial production stage (LRIP). Production speed is an important sign to measure whether a fighter is mature or not. Rapid mass production is very important to save production cost, reduce price and enhance customer confidence, even related to the number of future orders.
On October 18, 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense said it would not approve the F-35 to enter the rapid production phase this year, and it may even delay the start of this phase to January 2021, for up to 13 months.
The U.S. military will enter the rapid production stage called milestone C. If the milestone C is not delayed, the annual output will increase from 91 in 2018 to 160 in 2023, with a significant increase in production capacity.
The main reason for the delay is that the F-35 has not yet passed the initial combat test and evaluation procedure, which was originally planned to start in September 2018, but was delayed until December 2018 due to the delay in software delivery of key airborne systems.
Now, the initial combat test and evaluation procedure is stuck in the joint simulation environment test stage, which is also the most critical step in the whole test process. After completion, it can be quickly transferred to the rapid production stage.
The joint simulation test environment (JSE) can set various meteorological, geographical and operational parameters in advance, so as to simulate and test whether the fighter has the comprehensive ability to successfully deal with various threats and combat environments.
According to Loma, there are now more than 450 F-35 fighters of various types operating in 19 bases around the world. If 478 aircraft are included in the contract, the total number will reach 1000. The F-35 fighters of the Israeli air force even participated in the actual combat. Although 13 years have passed since the F-35s first test flight, as a sophisticated and complex fifth generation fighter, it is still on the road of development and test.
It can be said that the U.S. Navy, air force and Marine Corps have tied up their future with the F-35, and it is more significant for those countries that have invested heavily in getting on board, and all participants are anxiously waiting for the day when the F-35 is rapidly mass produced.
Interestingly, with regard to the recent foreign media reports that Turkey will buy the Su-35, the Turkish defense minister refuted the rumor on October 30 that the reports of buying the Su-35 are not true, and we should enjoy the rights of F-35 partners. I have to say that F-35 is really fragrant!
Source: Tan Bing, Netease editor in charge: Li Xi, nn2587