Exclusive: Lockheed nears $37 billion-plus deal to sell F-35 jet to 11 countries

Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:29pm EDT
 
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By Mike Stone

(Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N: Quote) is in the final stages of negotiating a deal worth more than $37 billion to sell a record 440 F-35 fighter jets to a group of 11 nations including the United States, two people familiar with the talks said.

This would be the biggest deal yet for the stealthy F-35 jet, set to make its Paris Airshow debut this week.

The sale represents a major shift in sales practices from annual purchases to more economic multi-year deals that lower the cost of each jet.

The pricing of the jets was still not final, although the average price of the 440 jets was expected to be $85 million, the people said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly.

The multi-year deal for the fighters will consist of three tranches over fiscal years 2018-2020.

A Lockheed representative said the U.S. company does not discuss negotiations on contracts and said any deal involving a "block buy" would be announced by the U.S. government. A representative for the customers including the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Last week, representatives from 11 F-35 customer nations met in Baltimore, Maryland to discuss terms and toured a Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N: Quote) facility in Maryland that provides equipment for the jet. Those nations included Australia, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, South Korea, Britain and the United States.

The memorandum of understanding being negotiated between Lockheed and the customers aims to procure 135 or more jets in fiscal year 2018 for delivery in 2020 for about $88 million per jet, the people said.   Continued...

 
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. airman adjusts his cap in the cockpit as a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft is moved on the eve of the 52nd Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France June 18, 2017. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo