An F-35 fighter jet crashed Wednesday, October, 20 near a runway at the Hill Air Force Base, Utah, military officials said. The pilot was ejected and was taken to a “local medical centre” for observation, the 388th Fighter Wing said. The crash’s cause was being investigated.

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According to the Defense Department’s programme report, the Pentagon’s anticipated cost to buy the F-35 fighter jet, the world’s most costly weapons programme, has risen to $412 billion from $398 billion. The $398 billion estimate had been stable for several years prior to the current 3.5% rise, detailed in the Defense Department’s annual Selected Acquisition Report on major weapons. When Lockheed Martin Corp. was awarded the contract to develop and build the F-35 fleet in 2001, the projected cost was $233 billion.

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The last month’s estimate includes 2,470 planned planes for the US military, including 14 test planes, but excludes another 940 planes that might be sold to 16 other nations, according to Bloomberg.

When the first F-35A was delivered in 2007, it cost $221 million. Since then, manufacturing numbers and know-how have risen, allowing the stealthy fighter’s price to decrease to $79 million as buyers flocked to it.

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The F-35 is offered in three configurations: the A-model for the United States Air Force and its allies, the F-35 B-model for short takeoffs and vertical landings, and F-35C jets for aircraft carrier landings.

A previous three-year “block buy” approved by the Pentagon in 2019 was for 478 F-35 fighter jets, allowing Lockheed to acquire bigger quantities of components and save prices by roughly 8%, to $34 billion, vs negotiating yearly contracts. The F-35 aircraft programme accounts for around 27% of Lockheed’s revenue.

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The average cost of flying an F-35 is $36,000 per hour, compared to $22,000 for an F-16.  Lockheed Martin, the plane’s manufacturer, says that operational expenses may be reduced to $25,000 per hour by 2025.