King of Lemons: Australia swindled by Lockheed Martin and its Joint Strike Fighter – Michael West

Joint Strike Fighter, JSF, Lockheed Martin

WHAT does all this mean for Australia? Defence gives an average price of less than $126 million for Australia’s 72 F-35s when fully operational by 2023. It is the ongoing costs of maintenance and support that are the killer. The Australian Strategy Policy Institute estimates the sustainment costs to be triple those of the F-18 fighters it replaces. Bloomberg reported this month that the confidential estimates of the Pentagon’s Cost Analysis Unit now put the F-35’s life cycle operating and sustainment costs at $US1.723 trillion in 2020 dollars – easily the most expensive weapons program in history. It says that $1.266 trillion of the $US1.723 trillion is for operations and support and the rest for the initial acquisition cost. On this basis, the life cycle cost in current dollars for Australia’s F 35s will be approximately $(A)475 million per plane. The sustainment costs are so high it’s likely the US will keep cutting the total number of planes it buys from its proposed 2400, thus adding to unit costs.

King of Lemons: Australia swindled by Lockheed Martin and its Joint Strike Fighter – Michael West

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