F-35 Costs Decrease

The Pentagon’s newly issued selected acquisition report to Congress notes a $4.5 billion reduction in the acquisition, operating, and support costs of the F-35 strike fighter program. Prime contractor Lockheed Martin said this marks the first time that a SAR reflects a cost reduction in the program. “We will work with the F-35 joint program office to implement further cost-saving measures, which will result in additional significant decreases to the total program costs,” said a company spokeswoman. The F-35 aircraft program has an estimated total cost of $326.9 billion, down 1.5 percent from the previous $331.9 billion estimate, states the report, issued on May 23. However, that savings is partially offset by a $442 million increase in the costs of F-35 engine acquisition, which jumped from $63.9 billion to $64.3 billion. Those costs rose primarily due to revised escalation indices, correction of cost allocations between the aircraft and engine subprograms, and a lower ramp-up of engine production in the near term, states the report.