Three Things to Know About F-35 Sustainment

July 16, 2020

At Lockheed Martin, The Flight Line is the Center of Gravity – where we deliver 5th Gen sustainment capabilities to ensure F-35 mission readiness, anytime and anywhere.

The F-35 delivers transformational capabilities to the warfighter, with every aircraft delivery and every flight hour. The F-35 team continues to get smarter, more mature and effective. We are on track to meet several critical performance and affordability targets.

Here are the key things to know about F-35 sustainment as we continue to deliver innovative solutions, reduce costs and enhance fleet readiness:

The F-35 fleet is growing at a pace unmatched by any fighter in the world. Today, more than 535 F-35s are operating from 24 bases, and more than 1,040 pilots and 9,340 maintainers have been trained. The global F-35 fleet has already amassed more than 290,000 flight hours and generated more than 170,00 sorties. To date, 14 services are flying the F-35 from nine different countries, and more than 135 training detachments and operational deployments have been completed.

The F-35 is delivering transformational capabilities today – our operations and sustainment enterprise is demonstrating its value – and we are growing and expanding exponentially. By 2023, approximately 1,000 aircraft will be operating from more than 40 bases and ships. In less than six years, we will integrate more than 600 aircraft into global operations, while supporting the stand up of about 25 additional bases and ships – all while enhancing overall readiness and reducing costs.

The F-35 team continues to enhance readiness and improve reliability. All three F-35 variants are exceeding reliability specifications at this point on the program’s maturity growth curve. With improved reliability, aircraft are averaging mission capable (MC) rates higher than 70%, with some operational squadrons closer to 80%. For example, during a recent Red Flag exercise, the F-35 MC rate was 86%. Other deployed F-35 units have achieved above a 90% MC rate – equal to or above the MC rate of most 4th generation fighter squadrons.

Reducing F-35 Operations & Support (O&S) costs and increasing reliability remains a top priority. We are continuing to invest in innovation and aggressively drive costs down, in partnership with our government and industry partners, to achieve life-cycle cost reduction goals. As more and more F-35s enter service, resources are being optimized across the fleet, including logistics data from 290,000-plus flight hours – to target the most significant cost and readiness drivers.

The F-35 team continues to conduct supply chain competitions, build supply chain capacity, synchronize spare buys, improve parts reliability and maintainability, implement advanced analytics tools, accelerate modifications of earlier aircraft, and support the stand-up of government-led regional warehouses and repair depots. Over the past five years, we have reduced the Lockheed Martin portion of the F-35 cost per flight hour (CPFH) by 38%. With the investments we are making today, lessons we’re learning and the scaling of the fleet, we expect to drive the Lockheed Martin F-35 CPFH down another 50% in the next five years.

The F-35 program is delivering 5th Gen sustainment today and we’re continuing to invest in an advanced, cost-effective 5th Generation airpower future.

Learn more about F-35 Sustainment.