F-35 Flying Hour Costs

Lockheed Martin is working with the Defense Department to find a way to express an apples-to-apples cost-per-flying-hour estimate between the F-35 strike fighter and other fighter aircraft so that Congress can compare them, said company President and CEO Marilyn Hewson on Tuesday. Speaking with reporters in the company’s offices in Crystal City, Va., she said lingering differences in the per-flying-hour cost have to do with assumptions about how many F-35s there will be, the systems included on them and, importantly, “how many places” the other aircraft are based or serviced. “If you add up all the sustainment costs of six or eight [other kinds of] aircraft,” the cost differential is “pretty significant[ly]” in favor of the F-35, she said. (For more Hewson coverage from the May 14 media event, see No Strategy Change and F-35 Priced to Move.)