Citing a report from Lockheed Martin’s officials, the global aviation community’s primary source FlightGlobal reported that the company plans to increase the production of its F-35 stealth fighter family aircraft.
Lockheed Martin is projecting annual production of the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter could rise to as high as 180 examples by 2024, FlightGlobal reported on Thursday.
“We’re going to deliver 140 aircraft this year,” says Ken Possenriede, executive vice-president of Lockheed Martin on the company’s annual earnings call on 28 January. “Rough number’s 160 next year.”
In the years beyond, he sees 165 aircraft delivered in 2020; 170 aircraft delivered in 2023; and 175 to 180 delivered in 2024. The company believes its production will reach peak capacity in 2023 and 2024.
Lockheed Martin had delivered 491 aircraft in total to various worldwide military services by the end of 2019.
Using lessons learned, process efficiencies, production automation, facility and tooling upgrades, supply chain initiatives and more – the F-35 enterprise continues to significantly improve efficiency and reduce costs.
The price of an F-35A is now $77.9M, meeting the $80M goal a year earlier than planned.
The F-35’s mission readiness and sustainment costs continue to improve with the global fleet averaging greater than 65 percent mission capable rates, and operational squadrons consistently performing near 75 percent.
Lockheed Martin’s sustainment cost per aircraft per year has also decreased four consecutive years, and more than 35 percent since 2015.
With more than 490 aircraft operating from 21 bases around the globe, the F-35 plays a critical role in today’s global security environment.
Today, 975 pilots and 8,585 maintainers are trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 240,000 cumulative flight hours. Eight nations have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil, eight services have declared Initial Operating Capability and four services have employed F-35s in combat operations.