Lockheed Martin and its programme partners are putting up millions in investment dollars to redesign manufacturing methods for components of the F-35 Lightning II, in the hope of bringing the per-aircraft cost in line with existing fighters within five years.

Lorraine Martin, who leads Lockheed’s F-35 programme, outlined on 16 September a handful of the several hundred potential manufacturing and materials changes that seek to cut $10 million per year from the aircraft’s unit cost up to 2019. The company has promised that by then, the F-35A will cost $80 million or less.

To accomplish that goal, Lockheed, and engine manufacturing partners Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce have committed to investing a combined $170 million over the next two years on affordability initiatives. […]