This has taken over a year to figure out due to the new requirement for fixed price contracts for the program.
The word is that the contract is somewhere around $4 billion for 32 aircraft. Little-to-no mention is given to an additional over $2B dollars that make up LRIP-5 production costs.
The spend on LRIP-5 F-35s is not around $4B. It is over $6B.
Last year, at the end of December, an undefinitized DOD contract for LRIP-5 F-35 airframes was released. At the time LRIP-5 was projected to be for 30 aircraft, down from 42 aircraft when long-lead contracts started being issued in 2010.
Trends: when the program started many years ago, LRIP-5 was to be 120 aircraft.
The recent announcement (with a released contract expected sometime in December), is hailed as a success. However, according to this must-read analysis from early in 2012 (based on LRIP-5 being 30 aircraft and not the newly revised 32), $4B only gets you some of the roll-away price for the jets.
So, in procurement dollars alone, expect the average cost of a LRIP-5 F-35 to be over $198M each, not counting engineering changes.
Also, TR2 hardware, needed to drive Block 3 software, does not arrive until LRIP-6 aircraft are delivered.
All this is for a troubled aircraft that is still nowhere near go-to war trim.
" ...about $77 million per copy."
-Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Feb. 2008.