The F-35 Joint Program Office has awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.4 billion sustainment contract to support operations for the F-35 fleet.

“This contract is critical to ensuring the transformational F-35s are mission ready to support our men and women in uniform,” said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president of F-35 Global Sustainment.

“We are taking aggressive actions to improve F-35 aircraft availability and reduce sustainment costs. As the sustainment system matures and the size of the operational fleet grows, we are confident we will deliver more capability at less cost than legacy aircraft.”

Lockheed Martin say it is implementing comprehensive actions to improve readiness and reduce industry costs, to include:

  • Expanding the networked global supply chain to improve component repair capacity, throughput and velocity.
  • Investing in enhanced diagnostics and data analytics to improve flight line readiness and drive down costs.
  • Pre-funding spares buys and synchronizing production and sustainment component orders to achieve volume cost reductions and improve parts availability.

More than 280 F-35 aircraft have been delivered and are now operating from 15 bases around the globe. More than 580 pilots and 5,600 maintainers have been trained and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 130,000 cumulative flight hours. The F-35 weapons system reliability continues to improve, and newer aircraft are averaging greater than 60 percent availability with some operational squadrons consistently at or above 70 percent availability.

According to Lockheed, the 2018 Annualised sustainment contract will cover sustainment services through April 30, 2019.

5 COMMENTS

  1. If true (big if…), surpassing the 60% availability mark is very significant. Questions are, is it sustainable or just the result of a concentrated effort? Is it across the fleet, including deployed units, or just units operating from a MOB? Is sustaining that level of availability affordable in the long run? What is repairability like? Is it possible to return aircraft to line service relatively quickly, easily? What is spares availability like?

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