14 June 2021
by Pat Host
Difficulty sustaining the engine on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is contributing to a higher cost per flying hour than originally anticipated, a former programme official and a government auditor have noted.
A F-35B accelerates on the ski ramp aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth on 8 June. Difficulty sustaining the F-35's engine is contributing to a higher cost per flying hour than originally anticipated, according to a former programme official and a government auditor. (3rd Marine Aircraft Wing)
A Lockheed Martin official told reporters on 10 June at the company's F-35 production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, that the aircraft's cost per flying hour is USD33,000 in 2012 dollars: USD38,655 in 2021 dollars.
A former F-35 programme official, who was grated anonymity to speak freely, told Janes on 9 June that the original concept predicted that the aircraft would have a cost per flying hour between USD25,000–30,000 in 2021 dollars, once the programme reached the current stage: between initial operational capability (IOC) and full operational capability (FOC). This cost per flying hour was supposed to be somewhat comparable to newer Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons.
“You only have a finite amount of money and you can spend your money buying new aircraft [but then] you do not have any money to fly them,” the former F-35 programme official said. “Or you can spend less [money] buying new aircraft because it costs more to fly them.
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Difficulty sustaining the engine on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)...