Joint Strike Fighter program manager Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan acknowledged to reporters at AFA’s Air, Space and Cyber conference in September that F-35 Lot 9 and 10 production talks—the two lots were being negotiated together—were dragging on, but he expected a deal “before the end of the year.” Now that Lot 9 has been awarded separately, a JSF program spokesman said Bogdan remains optimistic about a Lot 10 deal by the end of 2016. Lot 10 is for 92 aircraft, but is still a long way from the “block buy” that the Pentagon and its JSF partners want to pursue. Similar to a US “multi-year” buy, the block buy would commit in advance to a set level of production, allowing Lockheed Martin to better manage materials supply and workforce, potentially producing a unit price reduction of several million dollars per airplane. The partners have agreed in principal to do a block buy from Fiscal 2017-2019, but the earliest the US could participate would be 2018. (See also: F-35 Block Buy Will Save $2 Billion in Three Years.)
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