Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) announced that industry team was awarded a $1.9 billion contract by the F-35 Joint Program Office. The award is intended to support operations and sustainment of the global F-35 fleet, while improving mission readiness and further reducing costs. The 2020 annualized sustainment contract will cover industry sustainment activities through December 31, 2020.
According to the security and aerospace company, the annual contract funds critical sustainment activities for aircraft currently in the fleet and builds enterprise capacity to support the future fleet of more than 3,000 F-35 aircraft. The critical sustainment activities include industry experts supporting base and depot maintenance, pilot and maintainer training, and sustaining engineering across the globe, as well as fleet-wide data analytics and supply chain management for part repair and replenishment to enhance overall supply availability for the fleet.
“The F-35 continues to deliver exceptional capabilities to the field, and this contract ensures F-35s are mission ready to meet warfighter needs,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “The joint government and industry team continues to make significant progress improving readiness rates and reducing sustainment costs. In 2020, we will continue to optimize and advance the sustainment system. We are confident F-35 sustainment costs will be equal to or less than legacy jets.”
Lockheed also provided information on cost reduction. The company’s sustainment cost per aircraft per year has decreased four consecutive years, and more than 35% since 2015. In the meantime, the defense contractor claims that the F-35’s reliability continues to improve, and the global fleet is averaging greater than 65% mission capable rates, with operational squadrons consistently performing near 75%.
As for future goals, Lockheed explains that the F-35 enterprise continues to pursue 80% mission capable rates in the near term and reduce the F-35 Cost Per Flight Hour to $25,000 by 2025, which is equal to or less than the cost to sustain legacy, less capable aircraft.