C4iSR: Joint & Common Equipment

Lockheed Martin leverages 3D printing, manufacturing processes to reduce F-35 simulator price

29 November 2018

Key Points

  • Lockheed Martin used additive manufacturing and manufacturing process advances to reduce its F-35 simulator price
  • The unit price was lowered by USD3 million, a 25% reduction since the company started producing simulators seven years ago

Lockheed Martin has leveraged additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, and improved manufacturing processes to reduce the unit price of its F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) full motion simulator.Lockheed Martin’s F-35 full motion simulator. (Lockheed Martin)Lockheed Martin's F-35 full motion simulator. (Lockheed Martin)

The company reduced the unit price of a simulator by USD3 million, a 25% reduction, since it started producing simulators seven years ago, according to Amy Gowder, Lockheed Martin training and logistics solutions vice-president and general manager. This price reduction was reflected in the September low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 11 contract for 15 simulators.

"We're continuing to drive down the cost of production, not only of the jet, but [for] all of the sustainment elements and the full motion simulator is one of them," Gowder said on 28 November.

Gowder added that the F-35 full motion simulator features a 360՞ dome with a highly classified threat environment that runs the jet capability functionality. She said the flight model, all operational features, and the aircraft are replicated exactly in the simulator.

The company is also investing more than USD30 million through to 2020 to reduce F-35 training and sustainment costs while increasing currency and capability, according to a company statement. Lockheed Martin will modernise the virtual training environment based on emerging threats and the needs of F-35 operators. It will also reduce costs by infusing new technologies to shrink hardware and software footprints in the computing and visual infrastructure. It will additionally automate support tasks and reduce manpower support requirements.

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