F-35 Costs Drop for Building Jets But Rise for Operating Them (excerpt)
(Source: Bloomberg News; published May 29, 2020)
By Anthony Capaccio
The Pentagon’s costliest program, Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35, is starting to look a little less expensive, with the latest estimate for development and procurement down 7.1% to $397.8 billion.

Less encouraging for the lawmakers who craft defense budgets and for taxpayers: Operating and maintaining the fleet for 66 years is projected to cost $1.182 trillion, a 7.8% increase over the estimate from the Pentagon’s F-35 office last year, according to the Defense Department’s annual assessment of the jet obtained by Bloomberg News.

The lower acquisition estimate produced by the F-35 program office is the latest in a string of good news that also includes improved on-time delivery of aircraft, the elimination of all flaws that were considered life-threatening to pilots and a steady reduction since 2018 in the number of potentially mission-crippling software deficiencies.

The Selected Acquisition Report, which hasn’t been released to the public, also said the F-35 program anticipates sales over time of 809 aircraft to international partners, up from the 764 projected last year. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Bloomberg website.



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