2010 Coverage: Lockheed Gaming Out F-35 Lifecycle Costs
By JOHN REED, FARNBOROUGH, UK – Lockheed Martin is conducting “international sustainment war games” for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, company vice president and general manager for F-35 programs Tom Burbage announced during a July 19 press conference here. The “games” are part of the company’s effort to predict the jet’s total lifecycle costs in excruciating detail, according to Burbage.
This comes after months of reports from numerous critics that the new fighter’s will have higher sustainment costs than older jets such as the F/A-18 Hornet.
Lockheed has denied such accusations.
Burbage said Lockheed and the Italian government have started to build an F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out facility at the Cameri air base in Italy. The FACO plant is part of Italy’s JSF program workshare. The Italian government is paying for the construction of the facility, while Lockheed provides the technology to produce the jets.
Burbage also gave a tantalizing detail about the airplane’s the Distributed Aperture System, a 360-degree infrared sensor suite. He said an F-35 test jest flying over northern Virginia recently tracked the launch of a U.S. Air Force missile from Cape Canaveral, Fla. He would not elaborate.