Operating costs were a big issue when senior military officials from the United States, Israel and F-35 user nations in Europe – Britain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Turkey, the Netherlands – met in Germany last week, according to reports.
“We discussed the importance of ensuring that future costs – specifically for sustainment – are kept to a minimum so that we don’t have to cut into future purchases,” U.S. Air Force Colonel Leslie Hauck, who heads the fifth generation integration office at the U.S. Air Force headquarters in Europe, told Reuters here.
This comes not long after the Pentagon’s estimated cost to develop and purchase Lockheed the F-35, has stabilised for now, according to a new report to the US Congress.
The total acquisition cost for the fighter is projected at $406.1 billion, virtually unchanged from the $406.5 billion estimated last year, according to the US Defense Department’s latest Selected Acquisition Report.
Within the total — which includes research, development and initial support such as spare parts and military construction — the estimated cost to procure 2,456 U.S. aircraft has ticked down to $345.4 billion from $346.1 billion, or a 0.2 percent decline.
That’s good news for the F-35, which has wide support in Congress but a past marred by cost overruns. Last year, the annual acquisition report on major weapons estimated that costs would rise about 7 percent to $406.5 billion after several years of declining projections.