F-35 Global Fleet Surpasses 400,000 Flight Hours
July 01, 2021
The global F-35 fleet has achieved 400,000 flight hours – demonstrating the progress and maturity of the F-35 program.
The 400,000 flight hours includes all F-35s in the fleet: developmental test aircraft, training, operational, U.S. and international F-35s.
“This milestone is a testament to the dedicated work of the joint government, military and industry teams sustaining, maintaining, operating and flying F-35s around the globe,” said Bridget Lauderdale, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program. “With every delivery and every flight hour, the enterprise gets more mature and effective and we are laser focused on continuing to deliver the most capable, available and affordable 5th Generation fighter aircraft.”
Capability. Availability. Affordability.
Capability: The 5th Generation F-35 is in the fight today and its advanced capabilities continue to transform the way our men and women in uniform conduct operations around the globe. It is the most advanced node in a 21st century warfare network-centric architecture connecting assets in the battlespace, boosting effectiveness and enabling rapid decision-making, giving our pilots an advantage against any adversary and enabling them to execute their mission and come home safe. More than 165,000 flight hours – about 41% of the total – were flown by operational and combat-coded F-35s.
Availability: F-35 availability continues to increase as more aircraft enter service. Recent U.S. Air Force data shows the F-35A has the highest mission capable rates across the fighter fleet. The more than 400,000 flight hours encompass 235,329 sorties flown and 224 detachments and deployments completed across the international fleet. During a recent Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) exercise, Exercise Lightning Thunder, the RAAF flew more than 150 sorties and more than 50 weapons deliveries all while maintaining a mission-capable rate of 80%. In addition, recent U.S. Air Force data shows the F-35A has the highest mission capable rates across the fighter fleet. The U.S. Air Force deployed 42 jets for 18 consecutive months in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility, where the Air Force flew more than 1,300 F-35A sorties with mission capable rates of greater than 70%. Most importantly, pilots returned home safely every time.
Affordability: F-35 procurement and sustainment cost continue to decrease with every delivery and flight hour. F-35 unit costs have decreased more than 70% since the beginning of the program – now at parity with legacy aircraft. Over the past five years, Lockheed Martin has lowered its controlled cost per flight hour by 44% and expects to lower it an additional 40% over the next five years. Lockheed Martin continues to leverage technology and partnerships with customers to lower sustainment costs to ensure the U.S. and our allies can affordably operate the F-35.