The F-35 Joint Program Office has awarded the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] industry team a $1.4 billion sustainment contract to support operations for the F-35 fleet around the globe.
The annual contract funds sustainment support activities for aircraft currently in the fleet, as well as building enterprise capacity to support the future fleet of more than 3,000 F-35 aircraft. Activities include air system maintenance; pilot and maintainer training; depot activation; sustaining engineering; Automatic Logistics Information System (ALIS) support, data analytics and predictive health management; supply chain logistics and more.
"This contract is critical to ensuring the transformational F-35s are mission ready to support our men and women in uniform," said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president of F-35 Global Sustainment. "We are taking aggressive actions to improve F-35 aircraft availability and reduce sustainment costs. As the sustainment system matures and the size of the operational fleet grows, we are confident we will deliver more capability at less cost than legacy aircraft."
Lockheed Martin is implementing comprehensive actions to improve readiness and reduce industry costs, to include:
Expanding the networked global supply chain to improve component repair capacity, throughput and velocity.
Investing in enhanced diagnostics and data analytics to improve flight line readiness and drive down costs.
Pre-funding spares buys and synchronizing production and sustainment component orders to achieve volume cost reductions and improve parts availability.
More than 280 F-35 aircraft have been delivered and are now operating from 15 bases around the globe. More than 580 pilots and 5,600 maintainers have been trained and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 130,000 cumulative flight hours. The F-35 weapons system reliability continues to improve, and newer aircraft are averaging greater than 60 percent availability with some operational squadrons consistently at or above 70 percent availability.
The 2018 Annualized sustainment contract will cover sustainment services through April 30, 2019.
With stealth technology, advanced sensors, weapons capacity and range, the F-35 is the most lethal, survivable and connected fighter aircraft ever built. More than a fighter jet, the F-35's ability to collect, analyze and share data is a powerful force multiplier that enhances all airborne, surface and ground-based assets in the battlespace and enables men and women in uniform to execute their mission and return home safe.