On September 13, 2021, the F-35 Joint Program Office signed annualized sustainment contracts with Lockheed Martin worth $6.6 billion to further support and sustain operations of the global F-35 combat aircraft fleet. The F-35 sustainment contracts will cover three fiscal years beginning 2021. 

In a joint statement, the US Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin said that FY 2021-2023 contracts are intended to reduce F-35 fleet sustainment costs. Contracts will fund sustainment activities, such as depot maintenance, pilot and maintainer training, and fleet-wide data analytics. Contracts also cover supply chain management for F-35 part repair.

"Together with the F-35 Joint Program Office, we recognize the critical role the F-35 plays in supporting our customers' global missions and the need to deliver this capability affordably," said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. "These contracts represent more than a 30% reduction in cost per flying hour from the 2020 annualized contract.”

According to Lockheed data, around 690 F-35s have already been delivered to customers and are operating from 21 bases around the globe. Additionally, about 1,460 pilots and 11,025 maintainers have been trained. The F-35 fleet has surpassed 430,000 cumulative flight hours.

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The F-35 stealth fighter jet became the most expensive weapon program in military history.