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The US Department of Defense has announced a two-year extension of its “blueprint for affordability for production” on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme – first announced in 2014 – and revealed a second initiative to reduce operational and sustainment costs for the platform.

The DoD launched the original blueprint in an effort to drive down the Lightning II’s programme costs. Government and industry partners have targeted an $85 million price per aircraft by 2019, according to the DoD. In 2015, Lockheed had set an $80 million per jet goal by 2019, FlightGlobal previously reported.

“[Blueprint for affordability] has been a very successful programme, and we’re going to another round essentially of similar cost reduction assessments with Lockheed,” Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief, told reporters on 9 July. “It will be on the order of the same investment and return.”

The programme will use $170 million in capital investment from Lockheed, Northrop Grumman and BAE systems for fiscal years 2014 through 2016. The team has already allocated $146 million of this sum to 193 approved projects, which could save $1.15 million per aircraft in the ninth lot of low-rate initial production (LRIP), rising to $1.7 million in LRIP 10.

Industry partners have also invested $250 million for the FY2018 through FY2022 period for the sustainment cost reduction initiative, which aims to deliver a 10% improvement, saving a total of $1 billion.

Source: Flight International