Adds details on F-35 costs, background on international buyers
Dec 30 (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp LMT.N said on Monday it has reached its 2019 target to deliver 131 F-35 fighter jets to the United States and its allies, as the defense contractor built 47% more jets this year.
The world's largest defense contractor said that in 2020 it aims to deliver 141 F-35s.
The cost of the most common variation of the jet, the F-35A, is now $77.9 million, meeting the defense contractor's $80 million goal a year earlier than planned, Lockheed said in a statement.
The F-35 program, which currently makes up about 25% of Lockheed’s annual revenue, has long aimed at expanding the fleet to more than 3,000 jets and bringing the unit price of the F-35A below $80 million through efficiencies gained by bulk orders.
Earlier this year, Pentagon announced pricing details for its agreement with Lockheed that lowers the cost of the F-35 jets it plans to purchase through 2022 by 12.7%, which may encourage other nations to buy the warplane.
In 2019, international deliveries jumped 43% to 30 jets for international partner nations.
More U.S. allies have been eyeing a purchase of the stealthy jet including Finland, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
The F-35 comes in three configurations: the A-model for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. allies, a F-35 B-model which can handle short takeoffs and vertical landings and carrier-variant F-35C jets for the U.S. Navy.
(Reporting by Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)
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