Thanks for the question.
The vast majority of our acquisitions, because of cost, have been military, off-the-shelf, proven solutions that are already in existence and normally in service with another nation. That reduces our risks enormously. Costs are very specific, and there's proven in-service support performance there.
So this approach is very much different from that. In 1997 this was a blank sheet of paper. There was nothing. Four years later, Lockheed Martin, in competition with Boeing, demonstrated a prototype that took off in 500 feet, flew supersonic, and landed vertically. That was in 2011. We had joined that, for a $10 million contribution, in 1997, and then continued to monitor that over the past 15 years. That was obviously very early in any process of considering replacements for a CF-18, but the other alternatives out there, Eurofighters or Super Hornets, were also, even at that time, ten-year-old technology.
So the program is truly unique. Today there are 1,700 people in a joint project office supported by thousands in industry, supported by the nine partner countries. The aircraft is in production. There are large numbers flying, or about to be added to the fleet. Most of the technology issues are behind us. Costs for acquisition are stabilizing. We're gaining more and more specific insight into what it will cost to run the aircraft.
Thank you, sir.