Cost per flying hour is just one factor of total ownership cost. Sustainment is the area that Kendall says is the most ripe for opportunities to reduce cost. Development is well under way, with more than 40% of flight testing complete. Though risk is still present, especially in software work, Kendall says he is “cautiously optimistic” about the development portion of the F-35. And production is, for now, fairly well understood based on “actuals,” or numbers gleaned from early production lots, he says.
Kendall’s staff is conducting yet another look at sustainment for the F-35, the latest in a series of reviews on the subject. This is after the Pentagon received feedback from contractors during an industry day. He says that performance-based logistics is being considered for the fleet, which is slated to replace Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force fighters.
Figures for the cost per flying hour of the F-35A, B and C are expected in Congress in about one month when the Pentagon sends its latest SAR to the Hill.