Lockheed Martin Corp expects it will take around 15 to 20 years to bring the cost per flight hour of the F-35 below fourth-generation fighter jets such as the F-16, the head of the F-35 program said on Wednesday.
The U.S. Air Force, the largest global customer for the F-35, has launched a push to drive down the cost of flying and servicing F-35s to the same levels as current fighters without stealth capabilities.
Lockheed Martin Vice President and General Manager F-35 Program Greg Ulmer said there was an effort to lower the cost per flight hour to $25,000 by 2025 but further savings would take longer.
“Today it is different customer by customer but I think $35,000 per flying hour is a good number,” he told Reuters in an interview at the Australian International Airshow.
“If we project that out based on the initiatives we have in place, we believe as we move out to the 2035-2040 timeframe we can get that cost down to under what a fourth gen is today,” in the range of $20,000-25,000 per flight hour.
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