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JSF Block Buy Could Reach 500 Fighters

Defense News // June 16, 2015

Countries signing up to buy the joint strike fighter have all said they are interested in a block buy that could see commitments to purchase 500 of the aircraft, a Lockheed Martin official said Monday.

"They have all said they are interested," said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed's F-35 program manager, after a briefing on the program at the Paris Air Show.

"There are some countries that do this all the time, they usually do multi-year," she said. "There [are] some countries, like Japan, that have just passed legislation that enables them to do this and they have never done it in the past."

Pentagon procurement chief Frank Kendall last month backed multi-year, bulk purchases of the JSF by the US and other countries.

Rather than relying on nations signing up to buy aircraft from individual production runs, known as low rate initial productions, Lockheed and the US government will now ask countries to sign up to a block buy comprising aircraft from LRIPs 12,13 and 14, which would be ordered in the fiscal years of 2018-2020.

Martin said the US Congress would want to see big savings thanks to the block buy before approving it.

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