The F-35 Joint Program Office awarded the Lockheed Martin industry team a $1.28 billion Undefinitized Contract Action (UCA) to support operations and sustainment of the global F-35 fleet through June 30, 2021.
The UCA provides initial critical sustainment activities for a worldwide fleet while negotiations continue on a long-term contract to build enterprise capacity and affordability to support the future fleet of more than 3,000 F-35 aircraft. The UCA funds industry sustainment experts supporting operations worldwide, individual bases, depot maintenance, pilot and maintainer training, and sustainment engineering across the globe. It also covers fleet-wide data analytics and supply chain management for part repair and replenishment to enhance overall supply availability.
Lockheed Martin and industry teammates BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman provide critical sustainment support for over 600 aircraft in key areas such as training, base operations, repairs, global supply, and sustainment support to F-35 customers.
The F-35's reliability continues to improve, and newer production aircraft are averaging greater than 70% mission capable rates, with some operational squadrons consistently near 75%. This means jets on the flight line are set to launch three-quarters of the time—a number that matches with other fighter aircraft.
Cost per flight hour has decreased by more than 40% during the last five years. In July 2020, Lockheed Martin said it amounted to $35,000. Comparative aircraft in this class are generally in the mid $20,000s, a target the F-35 is slated to hit by 2025.