Lockheed-Martin announced this week that the global F-35 fleet has achieved 400,000 flight hours– including developmental test aircraft, training, operational, U.S., and international airframes.
“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.”
The announcement came at the same time the Swiss gave the F-35 a greenlight against stiff competition that included the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, and Eurofighter Typhoon for its $6.5 billion fighter program. The country, which currently flies 30 F-18C/D models, wants 36 F-35As before 2030 when the older Hornets are set to retire.
Get this, the reason the Lightning got the win in Bern was that the F-35A also has the lowest operating costs, over 30 years, of all of the candidates evaluated.
I hope, for the Swiss and everyone else that is using the F-35, those estimates hold up.