The $9-billion is predicated on a new per-plane price of about $90-million, according to reports. Independent estimates of the all-in per-plane cost of an F-35, including the weapons systems, come in at $150-million or more. Even that, at best, is an educated guess. The price is tied to the number of orders in a given year. If there are further delays or cancellations — which is likely, given recessions in Europe and Japan — the cost rises.
It is doubtful that anyone will see a $90M F-35 unless someone just wants to roll it out of the factory and park it.
Below are a few snapshots out of the United States Air Force fiscal year 2013 procurement budget for the F-35A. For at least the year fy2013 it is valid as this budget has been approved. What is shown are procurement dollars and not research and development. Further, it shows what the USAF expects to pay to get an aircraft out into an actual flying squadron.
Here is a look at what they are paying for just some of the core F-35A systems:
And what they expect to pay for a squadron-ready aircraft:
(click on images to make larger)
The history of USAF predictions for future F-35A costs hasn't been all that good. Higher is always the trend when it comes to handing over the money.
And, the aircraft being being bought (this will continue until at least 2020) have not been operationally tested with real complete-to-specification weapons systems.
Billions for mistake-jets.
Until there is a fully functional F-35A in working Block 3 trim with a few years of use by a real operational (not test) squadron, we will not know the true worth of the aircraft.