|A billion dollar fighter?|
Mind you, a lot of these factors would likely increase the price of ANY aircraft, but so much about the F-35's eventual cost is up in the air. This uncertainty was the primary reason for its disqualification from South Korea's fighter selection, as well as giving other countries second thoughts. Testing is still problematic, and U.S. Government funding isn't exactly a sure thing right now.
Even the $9 billion slotted to buy the initial 65 aircraft is looking overly optimistic, with the estimated cost quickly approaching that figure. Even DND's "contingency budget" for the F-35 had to be cut from $602 million to $342 million (when it should be almost 5 times that) in order to make the numbers work.
Needless to say, opposition NDP and Liberal parties are crying foul, calling for an open fighter competition to replace the CF-18. When the cost of the purchase reaches its arbitrary $9 billion "cut-off", the current Conservative government might not be left with much other choice.