Joint Program Office, Lockheed Martin deliver 300th F-35

Joint Program Office, Lockheed Martin deliver 300th F-35

As production volume increases and additional efficiencies are implemented, Lockheed Martin is seeking to reduce the cost of an F-35A to $80 million by 2020.

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June 12, 2018
Edited by Eric Brothers
Military/UAV/UAS

The 300th production F-35 aircraft flies off the flight line at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas.

The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have delivered the 300th production F-35 aircraft, demonstrating the program’s continued progress and momentum. The 300th aircraft is a U.S. Air Force F-35A, to be delivered to Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

"The F-35 weapons system is a key enabler of our National Defense Strategy and is providing our warfighters the combat proven, advanced capabilities they need to meet mission requirements," said Vice Admiral Mat Winter, program executive officer for the F-35 Joint Program Office. "The 300th production aircraft delivery is a significant milestone that highlights the effective F-35 Enterprise collaboration across the JPO, U.S. services, partners, and industry. Moving forward, our F-35 team remains committed to driving costs down, quality up, and faster delivery timelines across our development, production, and sustainment lines of effort."

The first 300 F-35s include 197 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variants, 75 F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variants, and 28 F-35C carrier variants (CV). They have been delivered to U.S. and international customers. More than 620 pilots and 5,600 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 140,000 cumulative flight hours.

“This milestone is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our joint government and industry team as we collaborate to deliver transformational F-35 capabilities to the men and women in uniform,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “We are focused on reducing costs, increasing efficiencies, and ensuring the highest level of quality as we ramp to full rate production and sustainment of the operational fleet.”

As production volume increases and additional efficiencies are implemented, Lockheed Martin is seeking to reduce the cost of an F-35A to $80 million by 2020, which is equal to or less than legacy 4th generation aircraft. With the incorporation of lessons learned, process efficiencies, production automation, facility and tooling upgrades, and supply chain initiatives, the F-35 enterprise has already significantly reduced costs and improved efficiency. For example:

•           The price of an F-35A has come down more than 60% from the first contract

•           Touch labor has been reduced by about 75% throughout the last five years

•           Production span time has decreased by about 20% since 2015

The F-35 enterprise met its 2017 delivery target of 66 aircraft, representing more than a 40% increase from 2016. In 2018, the team is targeting 91 aircraft deliveries and is preparing to increase production volume year-over-year to hit a rate of approximately 160 aircraft in 2023.

With more than 1,500 suppliers in 46 states and Puerto Rico, the F-35 program supports more than 194,000 direct and indirect jobs in the U.S. alone. The program also includes more than 100 international suppliers, creating or sustaining thousands of international jobs.