The UK has 17 F-35Bs (Picture: MOD).

New Supplier Contracts To Reduce F-35 Costs, Lockheed Martin Says

The UK has 17 F-35Bs (Picture: MOD).

The UK currently has nine F-35Bs ready to be deployed on operations 17 F-35Bs (Picture: MOD).

New supplier contracts will help "enhance readiness and reduce costs" of the F-35 aircraft, according to the jet's lead contractor Lockheed Martin. 

The American-based company said it has transitioned additional F-35 suppliers to longer-term Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contracts and Master Repair Agreements (MRA), which they say will to enhance supply availability and reduce sustainment costs.

In a news release, Lockheed Martin said the PBL contracts will "allow each company to make longer-term investments and actions to reduce costs and improve efficiencies", while suppliers signed to the MRA contract will be able "to enhance repair capacity and speed".

UK-based BAE Systems is among the suppliers signed to a PBL contract, while the MRA contracts cover deals with 12 separate suppliers.

An F-35B taking off from aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (Picture: MOD).
An F-35B taking off from aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (Picture: MOD).

Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 programme, said: "As the F-35 fleet expands, we are partnering with our customers and taking aggressive actions to enhance F-35 readiness and reduce sustainment costs.

"The F-35 global supply chain is a key enabler to success, and we're restructuring and streamlining several contracts with key industry partners to provide the long-term stability that will allow them to make investments, improve efficiencies and optimize their performance.

"This is one of several actions we're taking across the supply chain to improve capacity, reduce costs and enhance supply availability."

F-35B at its home base of RAF Marham.
The F-35B at its home base of RAF Marham.

Lockheed Martin also said they hope to achieve a $25,000 (£19,225) Cost per Flight Hour (CPFH) by 2025.

The UK currently has nine F-35B Lightning jets ready to be deployed on operations.

In April, it was announced the jets will start their first overseas deployment to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus later this year.

The UK is expected to eventually own 138 F-35Bs which are estimated to cost £190 million each.

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