The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office and prime contractor Lockheed Martin have welcomed a report from the US Department of Defense that shows that overall program costs are expected to decrease by US$7.5 billion to US$391 billion.
“Affordability is the number one priority for the F-35 program, and this year’s report reflects another year with significant cost reductions,” the Joint Program Office stated. “And we are not stopping there; we will continue to drive costs out of the program. The F-35 Joint Program Office has a disciplined approach to analysing and reducing sustainment costs.”
The average price of an F-35A Lightning II, including the engine, was quoted as US$108 million.
“F-35 unit recurring flyaway costs have been going down with each successive lot of aircraft,” the Joint Program Office stated. “Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney have track records for delivering the airframe and engine below government [Selected Acquisition Report] estimates, and we expect this trend to continue in the future.”
A revised program operating and support cost estimate provided by the Joint Program Office itself totals US$859 billion.
“We are extremely pleased with the nearly US$60 billion decrease in operations and support costs of the F-35 program during the last year alone,” stated Lorraine Martin, executive vice-president and general manager of the F-35 program at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “This is a result of a laser focus by the entire government and contractor team on reducing costs across the board, whether it is improving quality in manufacturing, increasing supply chain delivery speed or dramatically reducing concurrency items.”