Category Archives: Air Force

Valkyrie

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), along with partner Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., completed the successful fourth flight test of the XQ-58A Valkyrie low-cost Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) demonstrator January 23, 2020, at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

The Air Force Research Laboratory and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., completed the successful fourth flight of the XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator, a long-range, high subsonic unmanned air vehicle, at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, on January 23, 2020. The vehicle is pictured here during a 2019 flight (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lieutenant Randolph Abaya, 586 Flight Test Squadron)

During the test event, the Valkyrie demonstrator’s flight successfully met all of the test objectives, and the envelope was expanded beyond prior tests before safely landing in the Arizona desert. According to AFRL XQ-58A Valkyrie Program Manager Michael Wipperman, flying at higher altitude allowed researchers to gather data in an operational environment more representative of real-world flight conditions.

«Flying at this altitude helped us gather important data such as vehicle response to temperature and vibration, which will prepare us as we move toward our next flight test», said Wipperman.

This test event represents a return-to-flight for the XQ-58A Valkyrie, which experienced a mishap upon landing after a successful 90-minute flight in October 2019. Following a Safety Investigation Board probe into the mishap, Wipperman says the resulting information was outbriefed to the convening authority, and the recommendations were taken and approved to ensure the success of this latest test.

«We’re very pleased with the outcome of this fourth flight test», said Wipperman. «We were able to show recovery for a successful flight at even higher altitudes. Given that we have overcome these challenges, we have confidence that the aircraft can continue its progression into flying in more representative conditions».

Developed as part of AFRL’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology portfolio, the XQ-58A Valkyrie is designed to be a runway-independent, reusable unmanned air vehicle capable of a broad range of operational missions. The XQ-58A Valkyrie was developed through low cost procurement and is designed to be significantly less expensive to operate than traditional piloted or unpiloted vehicles, while capable of achieving the same critical missions. Taking only 2.5 years from contract award to first flight, it is the first example of a class of unmanned air vehicles developed through this time-saving process, which seeks to break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft.

A total of five flights are planned for the XQ-58A Valkyrie, with objectives that include evaluating system functionality, aerodynamic performance, and launch and recovery systems. The fifth flight, scheduled for later this year, will be a capability demonstration showcasing the ability of the vehicle to support operational needs.

T-7A Programme

Saab started assembly production on January 10, 2020 of its section of the T-7A Red Hawk aircraft, the advanced trainer developed and produced together with Boeing for the United States Air Force (USAF).

Saab starts production in support of U.S. Air Force T-7A Red Hawk programme

Saab is responsible for the development and production of the aft fuselage section for the advanced trainer, with seven aft units being produced in Linköping, Sweden for final assembly at Boeing’s U.S. facility in St. Louis, Missouri.

«In little over a year since we signed the Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract, we are starting production of our part of the T-7A Red Hawk jet. This achievement is possible due to the great collaboration between Saab and Boeing, and it is an honour to be part of this programme for the United States Air Force», says Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab business area Aeronautics.

The work is being performed in Linkoping, Sweden, after which future production of Saab’s part for the T-7A Red Hawk will be moved to our new U.S. site in West Lafayette, Indiana.

The Saab facility in West Lafayette is an important part of Saab’s growth strategy in the United States, creating strong organic capabilities for the development, manufacturing and sales of its products.

Boeing is the designated prime contractor for the T-7A Red Hawk advanced pilot training system acquisition by the U.S. Air Force. Saab and Boeing developed the aircraft with Saab as a risk-sharing partner. Saab received the EMD order from Boeing, on September 18, 2018.

X-60A program

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) X-60A program recently achieved a key developmental milestone with the completion of integrated vehicle propulsion system verification ground testing.

Shown is an X-60A air-launched rocket during a hot-fire test at Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Florida, January 14, 2020. The X-60A, developed through an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Small Business Innovation Research contract, is an air-launched rocket designed for hypersonic flight research (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

The X-60A is an air-launched rocket designed for hypersonic flight research. It is being developed by Generation Orbit Launch Services under an AFRL Small Business Innovation Research contract. The goal of the X-60A program is to provide affordable and routine access to relevant hypersonic flight conditions for technology maturation. This test included both cold-flow and hot-fire testing with the Hadley liquid rocket engine developed by Ursa Major Technologies. Flight-like hardware was tested using flight-like operational procedures. The test runs covered full-duration burns, engine gimbaling for thrust vector control, and system throttling.

«This test series was a critical step in reducing risk and gathering necessary system integration data in preparation for our upcoming flight tests», said Barry Hellman, AFRL X-60A program manager. «When we go to flight later this year, we hope to demonstrate the capability of the X-60A to provide affordable access to hypersonic flight conditions, which will position AFRL to deliver an innovative test capability for the Air Force and other DoD organizations».

X-60A is a single-stage liquid rocket primarily designed for hypersonic flight research and is launched from a modified business jet carrier aircraft. It is capable of testing a wide range of hypersonic technologies including airbreathing propulsion, advanced materials and hypersonic vehicle subsystems. The vehicle propulsion system utilizes liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. The system is designed to provide affordable and regular access to high dynamic pressure flight conditions above Mach 5.

During the upcoming flight tests based out of Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Florida, the X-60A will fly at relevant conditions necessary for technology maturation. Data will be collected to validate the overall vehicle design functionality as well as performance predictions.

Intelligence program

On 30 December 2019 the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) ordered the Archange airborne strategic intelligence program, comprising three Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X aircraft equipped with the Thales new-generation payload CUGE (universal electronic warfare capability). A contract has been awarded for the first two aircraft.

The Falcon 8X Archange to serve the French Air Force

Dassault Aviation and the dozens of French companies associated with the Falcon programs wish to thank the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the DGA and the French Air Force for their confidence.

The required level of performance of the Archange Falcons necessitates highly complex integration work, something that is at the core of Dassault Aviation and Thales know-how.

«I am very proud and happy with the decision of the Ministry of the Armed Forces. The Archange Falcon will serve the French forces in the same way as the Falcons 10, 200, 50, 2000, 900 and 7X are already doing it», declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. «The special mission Falcons provide the perfect illustration of the dual competences of Dassault Aviation: our civil aircraft benefit from the cutting-edge technologies developed for our combat aircraft, which in return benefit from the industrial processes deployed for the highly competitive production of the Falcon aircraft».

The tri-jet Falcon 8X is the latest addition to the Falcon range. The business jet version can carry 8 passengers and 3 crew members over a distance of 6,450 NM/7,456 miles/12,000 km. It has digital flight controls which stem directly from Dassault Aviation’s experience acquired with the Mirage 2000 and Rafale. It is equipped with enhanced avionics system (EASY) digital flight deck and the totally unrivalled FalconEye combined vision system (CVS).

Exported to more than 90 countries, the Falcon aircraft are flexible and economic to fly. Their handling qualities, aerodynamics and versatility render them capable of fulfilling missions that go beyond civil aviation standards. They are designed by the design office that also develops the Rafale and nEUROn combat aircraft. Over the last 50 years, Dassault Aviation has customized many Falcons for purposes such as medical evacuation, cargo transport, maritime surveillance, electronic warfare, etc. These multirole aircraft represent about 10% of the Falcon fleet in service across the world.

SPOC radio

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a contract to develop and demonstrate a Software Programmable Open Mission Systems (OMS) Compliant (SPOC) radio terminal for the U.S. Air Force.

Northrop Grumman will deliver an open mission systems-compliant software programmable radio terminal to the U.S. Air Force, unlocking new possibilities for the service’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS)

Northrop Grumman’s SPOC solution will provide the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) with an air-to-ground and air-to-air communications capability across four radio frequency waveforms: Link-16 Concurrent Multi-Net-4 (CMN-4), Common Data Link (CDL), Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) and Multi User Objective System (MUOS).

This development defines the Air Force’s next generation radio approach.

«Our solution for SPOC provides a mature hardware and software development kit that allows the Air Force to rapidly develop and prototype innovative communications solutions from any provider on an open architecture networking terminal that can be quickly taken into flight test and production», said Roshan Roeder, vice president, communications, airborne sensors and networks division, Northrop Grumman. «With the Air Force taking responsibility for developing the airborne communications network infrastructure for the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), SPOC radio will allow the Air Force to rapidly develop, test, fly and iterate».

Northrop Grumman’s SPOC open architecture networking terminal offers numerous benefits to the Air Force customer, including opening the F-35 Communications, Navigation and Identification (CNI) system to third-party developers, ownership of Link-16 development, sharing of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information over a common data link, and Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) beyond line of sight capability.

STOVL Aircraft

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Singapore of up to twelve (12) F-35B Lightning II Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.750 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on January 9, 2020.

US Approves $2.7Bn Sale of 12 Lockheed F-35Bs to Singapore

The Government of Singapore has requested to buy up to twelve (12) F-35B Lightning II Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft (four (4) F-35B Lightning II STOVL aircraft with the option to purchase an additional eight (8) F-35B Lightning II STOVL aircraft); and up to thirteen (13) Pratt and Whitney F135 Engines (includes 1 initial spare). Also included are Electronic Warfare Systems; Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Intelligence/Communication, Navigation and Identification (C4I/CNI) system; Autonomic Logistics Global Support System (ALGS); Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS); F-35 Training System; Weapons Employment Capability and other Subsystems, Features and Capabilities; F-35 unique infrared flares; reprogramming center access and F-35 Performance Based Logistics; software development/integration; aircraft transport from Ft. Worth, TX to the CONUS initial training base and tanker support (if necessary); spare and repair parts; support equipment, tools and test equipment; technical data and publications; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics support. The total estimated cost is $2.750 billion.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States. Singapore is a strategic friend and Major Security Cooperation Partner and an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia Pacific region.

This proposed sale of F-35s will augment Singapore’s operational aircraft inventory and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defense capability, adding to an effective deterrence to defend its borders and contribute to coalition operations with other allied and partner forces. Singapore will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this aircraft and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, Texas, and Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Connecticut. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Singapore.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Length 51.2 feet/15.6 m
Height 14.3 feet/4.36 m
Wingspan 35 feet/10.7 m
Wing area 460 feet2/42.7 m2
Horizontal tail span 21.8 feet/6.65 m
Weight empty 32,300 lbs/14,651 kg
Internal fuel capacity 13,500 lbs/6,125 kg
Weapons payload 15,000 lbs/6,800 kg
Maximum weight 60,000 lbs class/27,215 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound/907 kg GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-600
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 41,000 lbs/182,4 kN/18,597 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 27,000 lbs/120,1 kN/12,247 kgf
Short Take Off Thrust 40,740 lbs/181,2 kN/18,479 kgf
Hover Thrust 40,650 lbs/180,8 kN/18,438 kgf
Main Engine 18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf
Lift Fan 18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf
Roll Post 3,290 lbs/14,6 kN/1,492 kgf
Main Engine Length 369 inch/9.37 m
Main Engine Inlet Diameter 43 inch/1.09 m
Main Engine Maximum Diameter 46 inch/1.17 m
Lift Fan Inlet Diameter 51 inch/1,30 m
Lift Fan Maximum Diameter 53 inch/1,34 m
Conventional Bypass Ratio 0.57
Powered Lift Bypass Ratio 0.51
Conventional Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Powered Lift Overall Pressure Ratio 29
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6 (~1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h)
Combat radius (internal fuel) >450 NM/517.6 miles/833 km
Range (internal fuel) >900 NM/1,036 miles/1,667 km
Max g-rating 7.0
Planned Quantities
U.S. Marine Corps 340
U.K. Royal Air Force/Royal Navy 138
Italy 30
In total 508

 

Guardian

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) concluded a series of flight demonstrations using its MQ-9 Guardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) on December 19, 2019. The demonstrations showcased the maritime surveillance capabilities of the MQ-9, and the GA-ASI-developed Detect and Avoid (DAA) system for traffic-deconfliction in civil airspace. The flights were sponsored by the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) and the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) and staged out of Larissa Air Base in Greece. The flights were performed for an audience of European military and civilian representatives.

GA-ASI Concludes Successful Series of MQ-9 Demonstrations in Greece

«We were honored to have the HAF’s and the HCG’s support for these flight demonstrations with our MQ-9», said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. «The MQ-9 RPAS is already a strategic asset for NATO countries, providing mission persistence and interoperability between allies. We showcased MQ-9s maritime surveillance and the civil airspace integration capabilities for our European customers». The MQ-9 configuration demonstrated is operational in the U.S.

Currently GA-ASI aircraft systems support the Italian Air Force, the UK Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, and the Spanish Air Force. The Ministry of Defence for the Netherlands has selected MQ-9 for the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and the Government of Belgium has approved Belgian Defense to negotiate the acquisition of GA-ASI’s MQ-9B. In early December, the Australian Government announced selection of MQ-9B for the Australian Defence Force under Project Air 7003. GA-ASI RPAS are operated by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and NASA.

«The advanced capabilities of these aircraft are striking. Through the 10 days of demonstrations, the country of Greece has seen the value of MQ-9’s for maritime patrol and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) monitoring, border surveillance, support for search and rescue efforts, and over-watch of forest fire response efforts», said an HAF official.

The DAA system consists of an air-to-air radar integrated with Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS II), and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). The DAA system enables safe flight of an MQ-9 in civil airspace, and can even detect air traffic that is not actively transmitting its position.

The MQ-9 also demonstrated a multi-mode, maritime surface-search radar, and High-Definition/Full-Motion Video Optical and Infrared sensor. This sensor suite enables real-time detection and identification of large and small surface vessels in all-weather at long ranges, 360 degrees around the aircraft. The featured Raytheon SeaVue surface-search radar provided continuous tracking of maritime targets and correlation of Automatic Identification System (AIS) transmitters with radar detections. The Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) mode facilitates classification of vessels which are beyond optical sensor range.

For the demonstration, GA-ASI partnered with SES, a leading satellite communications (SATCOM) operator and managed services provider, with over 70 satellites in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). SES provided the GEO satellite connectivity that enabled the MQ-9 to operate securely with a high capacity datalink, enabling real-time transmission of sensor data from the aircraft, and extending its effective operational range far beyond that of «line-of-sight» datalinks.

«With our global satellite fleet, SES has been supporting the critical needs of GA-ASI and their government customers who have operated these aircraft for close to two decades», said Nicole Robinson, Senior Vice President, Global Government at SES Networks. «We were proud to support this demonstration effort for the Hellenic Air Force as part of our long-standing relationship with General Atomics».

Systems Testing

The Air Force’s newest combat rescue helicopter was suspended in a soundproof chamber at the Joint Preflight Integration of Munitions and Electronic Systems (J-PRIMES) facility in mid-November for defense system testing.

A 413th Flight Test Squadron HH-60W Whiskey hangs in the anechoic chamber at the Joint Preflight Integration of Munitions and Electronic Systems hangar at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, January 6, 2020. The J-PRIMES anechoic chamber is a room designed to stop internal reflections of electromagnetic waves, as well as insulate from external sources of electromagnetic noise to facilitate testing air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions and electronics systems on full-scale aircraft and land vehicles before open air testing (U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.)

The 413th Flight Test Squadron’s HH-60W Whiskey spent approximately seven weeks testing the defensive systems upgrades from the legacy HH-60G Pave Hawk currently flown by Air Combat Command (ACC).

The J-PRIMES facility has the unique capability to capture high quality data on defensive systems by isolating the electromagnetic radiation inside the facility’s anechoic chamber. The chamber is a room designed to stop reflections of sound or electromagnetic waves and is insulated from external noise.

Testing the HH-60W Whiskey in J-PRIMES will characterize the performance of the helicopter’s systems before electronic warfare flight-testing. The tests ensure it is capable of defeating hostile threats while performing its designated combat Search and Rescue (SAR) mission.

The new aircraft arrived at the 96th Test Wing in early November. The Air Force is contracted to purchase 113 HH-60W Whiskey aircraft to replace its aging fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters.

The J-PRIMES facility hosts similar test missions throughout the year. The facility provides an environment to facilitate testing air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions and electronics systems on full-scale aircraft and land vehicles before open air testing.

The J-PRIMES test data will be used to support specification compliance and check for defensive system discrepancies or concerns.

This is an early, but critical step in the developmental process of the new HH-60W Whiskey. After J-PRIMES testing, this particular aircraft will begin flight test for its defensive systems.

«Developmental test has begun in earnest», said Joe Whiteaker, the squadron’s combat rescue helicopter flight commander. «Every new event brings us closer to getting this aircraft to the warfighter, which is what we are really focused on».

Black Eagle

Towards the close of the year, December 30, 2019, the Consortium of Unmanned Aircraft (PTTA MALE) launched (roll out) the prototype of Nir Air Crew (PUNA) type ‘Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE)’ which was able to fly for 30 hours, with three missions as well: Surveillance, Mapping, Defense.

Indonesia Introduced Black Eagle, Unmanned Aircraft

PUNA MALE was made aiming to help maintain the sovereignty of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia from the air, very efficiently and reduce loss of life (without a pilot). The need for efficient air surveillance continues to grow along with the increasing threat of border areas, terrorism, smuggling, piracy, and theft of natural resources such as illegal logging and illegal fishing.

The PTTA MALE consortium was formed in 2017, consisting of the Directorate General of Pothan, Defense and Security Research, BPPT, ITB, LAPAN, PT LEN, and PTDI. The initiative was started by the Ministry of Defense Balitbang in 2015, where it was agreed that the DRaft needs and Objectives (DR&O) of a vehicle to be operated by the TNI, especially the Air Force.

The design process begins with the ‘preliminary design, basic design’ activity by making twice the wind tunnel model and the results of tests in 2016 and 2018 at BPPT, and making the ‘engineering document and drawing’ in 2017, with budgets from Balitbang Kemhan and BPPT.

The year 2019 starts with the ‘manufacturing’ stage, which begins with the ‘design structure’ process, the ‘Finite Element Method’ calculation, the creation of 3D drawings, and detailed 2D drawings done by BPPT engineers and supervised by PT Dirgantara Indonesia. Then proceed with the process of making ‘tooling, molding’, molding and then fabricating with the pre-preg process with autoclave.

In this year also the procurement of ‘Flight Control System (FCS)’ is produced in Spain. The integration process by BPPT engineers and PT Dirgantara Indonesia who have received training to integrate and operate the control system.

In 2020 two (2) prototype units will be built, each for the purpose of flight testing and for testing the strength of structures at BPPT. In the same year (2020), the process of certifying military products will begin and it is expected that by the end of 2021 a type certificate will have been obtained from the Indonesian Ministry of Defense Feasibility Center (IMAA).

The integration of the weapons system on the PUNA MALE prototype was carried out starting in 2020 and is projected to be certified as getting a military product type certification in 2023.

 

Black Eagle

Hammam Riza, Head of BPPT said that today (December 30) is a symbol of mastery of key technologies from one of the aerospace technologies. Hammam Riza also hopes that the latest defense technology innovations will continue to be supported by the national industry, so as to be able to meet the needs of the defense industry and at the same time reduce the import of the defense industry. Hamman representing the Minister of Research and Technology/KaBRIN gave the name PUNA MALE with Black Eagle.

For the development of Elang Hitam, the consortium has compiled a roadmap consisting of 3 major parts, namely: 1) Platform Development, 2) Flight Control System Development, and 3) Weapon System Development.

Based on the release of the Bureau of Cooperation and Public Communication, Ministry of Research and Technology/BRIN and BPPT PR, here are the specifications of PUNA MALE Elang Hitam, which was launched today.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

AIRCRAFT DIMENSION
Length 8.30 m/27.23 feet
Wing Span 16 m/52.49 feet
OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE
Radius 250 km/155 miles (Line of Sight)
Ceiling 7200 m/23,622 feet
Endurance up to 30 hours
Payload 300 kg/661 lbs.

 

PUNA MALE Elang Hitam will later fill the needs of the Indonesian Air Force squadron, help monitor the territory of the Republic of Indonesia through air vehicles, and support the development of the defense and security industry in Indonesia.

134 F-35s in 2019

Lockheed Martin delivered the 134th F-35 Lightning II aircraft for the year on December 30, 2019, exceeding the joint government and industry 2019 delivery goal of 131 aircraft.

An F-35B Lightning II for the United States Marine Corps at Lockheed Martin’s production facility in Fort Worth, Texas – the 134th F-35 Lightning II delivered in 2019

One hundred and thirty-four deliveries represent a 47% increase from 2018 and nearly a 200 percent production increase from 2016. Next year, Lockheed Martin plans to deliver 141 F-35s Lightning II and is prepared to increase production volume year-over-year to hit peak production in 2023.

«This achievement is a testament to the readiness of the full F-35 enterprise to ramp to full-rate production and we continue to focus on improving on-time deliveries across the entire weapons system», said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 Lightning II program. «We have met our annual delivery targets three years in a row and continue to increase production rates, improve efficiencies and reduce costs. The F-35 is the most capable fighter jet in the world, and we’re now delivering the 5th Generation weapon system at a cost equal to or lower than a less capable 4th Generation legacy aircraft».

The 134th aircraft is a Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL) model for the United States Marine Corps. In 2019, deliveries included 81 F-35s Lightning II for the United States, 30 for international partner nations and 23 for Foreign Military Sales customers.

 

Unit and Sustainment Costs Decrease, Readiness Improving

Using lessons learned, process efficiencies, production automation, facility and tooling upgrades, supply chain initiatives and more – the F-35 Lightning II enterprise continues to significantly improve efficiency and reduce costs.

The price of an F-35A Lightning II is now $77.9 million, meeting the $80 million goal a year earlier than planned.

The F-35’s Lightning II mission readiness and sustainment costs continue to improve with the global fleet averaging greater than 65% mission capable rates, and operational squadrons consistently performing near 75%.

Lockheed Martin’s sustainment cost per aircraft per year has also decreased four consecutive years, and more than 35% since 2015.

 

Program Maturity and Economic Impact

With more than 490 aircraft operating from 21 bases around the globe, the F-35 Lightning II plays a critical role in today’s global security environment.

Today, 975 pilots and 8,585 maintainers are trained, and the F-35 Lightning II fleet has surpassed more than 240,000 cumulative flight hours. Eight nations have F-35s Lightning II operating from a base on their home soil, eight services have declared Initial Operating Capability and four services have employed F-35s Lightning II in combat operations.

In addition to strengthening global security and partnerships, the F-35 Lightning II provides economic stability to the U.S. and international partners by creating jobs, commerce and security, and contributing to the global trade balance. Thousands of men and women in the U.S. and around the world build the F-35 Lightning II. With more than 1,400 suppliers in 47 states and Puerto Rico, the F-35 Lightning II Program supports more than 220,000 jobs.