Lockheed Martin [LMT] said Thursday it has delivered the 91st F-35, reaching its delivery target for 2018, while increasing production of the fighter jet by nearly 40 percent from last year.
Officials said the goal for 2019 is to reach another 40 percent increase in production and deliver 130 F-35s as the company works toward reaching full-rate production numbers.
“This milestone demonstrates the F-35 enterprise is prepared for full rate production and ready to deliver on increasing demand from our customers worldwide,” Greg Ulmer, vice president Lockheed’s F-35 program, said in a statement. “Year-over-year, we have increased production, lowered costs, reduced build time, and improved quality and on-time deliveries. Today, the F-35 is the most capable fighter jet in the world, and we’re delivering more aircraft per year than any other fighter on the market at equal to or less cost.”
The F-35 joint program office earlier this month said a move to full-rate production will likely occur by late 2019 (Defense Daily, Dec. 6). Full rate production would likely include annual deliveries of 160 fighter jets.
Deliveries in 2018 included 54 F-35s for the United States, 21 fighter jets for international partners and 16 for foreign military sale customers, according the company. Over 350 F-35’s have been delivered to date.
Lockheed Martin said the cost of an F-35A is now $89.2 million, with the company on track to reach $80 million by 2020.