The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have delivered the 300th F-35 aircraft for U.S. and international customers. The 300th aircraft is headed for Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
According to a news release, the first 300 F-35s include 197 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variants, 75 F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variants, and 28 F-35C carrier variants (CV). More than 620 pilots and 5,600 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 140,000 cumulative flight hours.
Lockheed drew criticism from President Trump in December 2016 for the program’s high costs.
Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
The price of F-35A has come down more than 60 percent from the first contract and production span time has decreased by about 20 percent since 2015.
While, the costs of the planes have been decreasing, fact checkers do not give much credit to President Trump.
According to The Washington Post:
Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, who heads the F-35 Joint Program Office at the Department of Defense, told reporters on Dec. 20—before the president’s private meetings with defense companies—that the F-35’s cost per plane should fall “somewhere on the order of 6 to 7 percent per airplane” for the next batch of planes.
That would translate to a cost reduction of between $6.1 million and $7.1 million per plane for the most common F-35 model — somewhere between $549 million and $630 million for the full lot of 90 planes. The Air Force’s budget already reflects cost reductions of about $10 million per plane between 2016 and 2017.
The F-35 enterprise met its 2017 delivery target of 66 aircraft, representing more than a 40 percent increase from 2016. In 2018, the team is targeting 91 aircraft deliveries and is preparing to increase production volume year-over-year to hit a rate of approximately 160 aircraft in 2023.