Here is an article from 2019 where the F-35 was $44,000 per hour and back then LM was confident it will reach $25,000 per hour by 2025. They are already at $36,000 an hour in 2021. That is an $8,000 an hour reduction in 2 years. LM have to reduce it a further $9,000 in 4 years. Switzerland is clearly confident they can hit that operating cost which is crazy low considering the capability.https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... -35-cheap/
The USAF and Congress is simply putting pressure on LM to guarantee they hit that $25,000 target. GE is also putting pressure on Pratt to keep costs down. They have not cut a single F-35 order and the US currently wants as many F-35 aircraft as LM can produce.
Pretty rosy colored glasses me strikes. Looking at various articles it is far from plain sailing for the F35 from the articles: https://www.airforcetimes.com/congress/2021/06/29/smith-slams-f-35-lifecycle-costs-in-latest-salvo/
Though F-35 sustainment costs have long been a hot topic, the issue took on new urgency after the GAO reported in April a difference of $3.7 million per aircraft between actual sustainment costs and what the services project they can afford over the program’s lifecycle ― and projected a total overrun of $4.4 billion by 2036.
Beyond cost, average repair times stood at 131 days a year ago because there wasn’t enough depot capacity, according to a GAO finding. Richardson touched on those issues last week, telling lawmakers that more repair depots need to be in place quickly.
=> More fixed costs down the line to get availability up.
Air Force officials plan to complete a business-case analysis this summer to attack escalating sustainment costs, the service’s top uniformed acquisition official, Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson, said at a Senate hearing last week.
The stealth fighter’s leading customer, the US Air Force (USAF), has also started to look elsewhere for fighter aircraft, most recently with the planned acquisition of 144 Boeing F-15EX Eagle IIs instead of some F-35s. In fact, there is growing suspicion that the service is also slow-walking its planned purchase of 1,763 F-35A aircraft until an alternative is available.
Lot 14 F-35A aircraft are to cost $77.9 million apiece, down 12.8% from lot 11. And, the F-35A’s mission capable rate rose from 61.6% in FY2019 to 76.1% in FY2020, according to the USAF. Mission capability rate is defined as the percentage of time an aircraft can fly and perform one of its tasked missions. However, the service’s minimum mission capability rate goal for the F-35A is 80% and its objective performance target is 90%.
Indeed, at this point there does not appear to be a path for the F-35A to reach a $25,000 per hour operating cost by FY2025, Lieutenant General Eric Fick, F-35 programme executive officer, told the House Armed Services Committee in April.
What surprises me most is the massive gap between the number of winning points for the F-35 (about 360) and the next competitor (about 270). That´s a massive gap which I´m not really able explain properly. If the F-35 really comes out that surperior during an all-in evaluation: why have there been several orders for Rafale etc. in the past few months?