Don't know when this story will end but now it looks like it may be cheaper to keep older a/c flying for 20 years because the F-35 components are not robust enough for an 8000 hr service life (over 30 years or so).. (that's 270 hrs per year rounded... reminds me of a tank that could go 60 miles between maintenance periods)
"It may cost as much as $1 trillion to operate the military’s fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) F-35 aircraft for several decades, according to a preliminary Pentagon estimate sent to Congress.
The figure is 9.3 percent more than the $915 billion estimate by the Defense Department in its 2009 Selected Acquisition Report to Congress.
The long-term cost estimate, which includes inflation, was submitted to Congress on April 15 in a report obtained by Bloomberg News. It assumes 8,000 hours of flying time for each of the 2,443 aircraft over a 30-year period. The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps have their own variations of the aircraft, with the last in the fleet to be produced in 2035."
Seems to me that if we could build them robust enough to quadruple (let alone just double) the service hours, we could do with a lot fewer. As I stated on an earlier thread, the first line units will be in the desert before the last is delivered.