Pentagon Does Not See Path to Reduce F-35 Jet's Cost - Program Evaluation Director (excerpt)
(Source: UrduPoint News; May 02, 2019)
WASHINGTON --- The US Department of Defense does not see a way to reduce the cost per flying hour for the fifth generation F-35 jet by fiscal year (FY) 2025, and projects that the cost will increase, Pentagon Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation Director Robert Daigle said in a congressional hearing on Thursday.

"The Department does not see a path to get to $25,000 per flying hour by FY 2025," Daigle told the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.

The F-35A Joint Program Office, Daigle said, estimates the cost per flying hour for the F-35A variant of the aircraft in 2024 would be $34,000. "Our [Pentagon] estimate is $36,000 for the [F-35]A -- About the same," Daigle said.


Daigle pointed out that after fiscal year 2024, the Defense Department projections are the cost per flying hour for the F-35 will flatten out and increase because the jets are starting to age and will have to be brought to depots for check-ups and repairs.

Vice Adm. Mathias Winter said during the hearing that the current F-35A cost per flying hour stands at $44,000. (Emphasis added throughout—Ed.)

"We know the levers and we know the initiatives in spare parts in what we call 'depot level repair,' being able to repair those parts, the ability for our service members to conduct the maintenance on the flight line which reduces the turnaround times and being able to give them the tools and the maintenance plans to do that work," Winter said.

Winter said the Pentagon's target cost for the F-35A is $25,000 by 2025. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the UrduPoint News website.


Air Force Officials Say F-35 Will Take Years to Meet Cost Per Flying Hour of F-15EX (excerpt)
(Source: Defense Daily; posted may 02, 2019)
By Vivienne Machi
(…/…) Winter told reporters after the hearing that the $25,000 target cost sets a goal by which the program office and its partners can identify the elements that will allow it to reach a lower cost per flying hour by 2024. “Part of our LCSP’s real effort was identifying what are the true attributes and levers that reduce costs,” he said.

The $25,000 goal “will be very, very hard to meet,” he added. “But it’s FY ‘19 right now and we have a number of years.”

The cost issues, as the Government Accountability Office pointed out in a report last week, remain within the aircraft’s sustainment (Defense Daily, April 25). Air Combat Command Commander Gen. Mike Holmes expressed hope during the hearing that the F-35 team would meet those challenges, “but it will be multiple years to drive those sustainment costs down to where they match the F-15.”

As additional Joint Strike Fighters are bedded down at Air Force bases, those maintenance and sustainment costs will ramp up to pay for low-observable maintenance facilities and other F-35-specific needs, he added.

The labor cost is the JPO’s biggest cost increase, Winter said. The office has hit “a stagnant plateau” with Lockheed Martin, who is on average 600 parts behind what Winter needs on the production line every month, he noted. “The aircraft is going slower down the production line than I need it to be. That drives cost.”

The repair turnaround for the F-35 is almost 200 percent longer than it needs to be, he added. Normal turnaround time should be 45 to 90 days – right now, it’s 190 days on average. That’s because suppliers are also generating new parts for production for the commercial aviation industry, he noted. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Defense Daily website.


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