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F-35 costs rise despite reduced flight hours

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April 18, 2024

Flight hours for F-35 fighter jets were reduced by 21% to cut costs, but a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that costs still increased by 44%

The cost of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft, which is the most expensive weapon system in the U.S. Department of Defense, has experienced a significant increase.

According to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), despite a 21% reduction in F-35 flight times, sustainment costs have increased by 44%, rising from $1.1 trillion in 2018 to $1.58 trillion in 2023.

The F-35 Lightning II aircraft is the Department of Defense’s costliest weapons system, with acquisition costs of $442 billion for the 630 fighter jets in service and the approximately 2,500 F-35 aircraft it plans to purchase by the mid-2040s.

The annual maintenance cost of a single F-35 aircraft increased from $4.1 million in 2018 to $6.8 million in 2023.

The GAO’s findings revealed that the overall availability of the F-35 aircraft declined from 2018 to 2023, and none of the platform variants met the availability targets set, which are evaluated based on the percentage of time the platform can successfully carry out one of its missions.

 

Source: Newsroom

Last Updated:  May 28, 2024 4:31 PM