Apr 5, 2014

Lockheed F-35’s Operating Cost Estimate to Decline

The Pentagon will decrease its $1.1 trillion estimate for the cost of supporting F-35 over55-year lifespan, the top U.S. weapons buyer said, but “It will drop to a number that’s not trivial but is not as much” a reduction “as I would like”.
While debate over the aircraft, the costliest U.S. weapons system, has focused mostly on the price to develop and build the fighter, Pentagon agencies also have disputed its long-term operating costs, from spare parts to repairs.
The Pentagon’s F-35 program office that the fleet will cost $857 billion to operate and support over its lifetime.
On the separate cost of developing and producing a planned fleet of 2,443 F-35s, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in February that its projection is $390.4 billion, as adjusted for inflation over the years the plane is produced. The Pentagon’s latest estimate by the same measure is $391.2 billion, about a 1.1 percent reduction from an earlier calculation.
That’s still a 68 percent increase from a 2001 estimate the included 409 more planes.
Pentagon expects see active progress” on the next version of software the Marine Corps needs to declare operational its first F-35 models by July 2015 as well as a final version of war-fighting software.

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