FORT WORTH, Texas -- The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin delivered the 300th production F-35 aircraft, a U.S. Air Force F-35A, demonstrating the program's continued progress and momentum, the Pentagon said.
"The F-35 weapons system is a key enabler of our National Defense Strategy and is providing our warfighters the combat proven, advanced capabilities they need to meet mission requirements," said Vice Admiral Mat Winter, program executive officer for the F-35 Joint Program Office. "The 300th production aircraft delivery is a significant milestone that highlights the effective F-35 Enterprise collaboration across the JPO, U.S. services, partners and industry. Moving forward, our F-35 team remains committed to driving costs down, quality up and faster delivery timelines across our development, production and sustainment lines of effort."
The first 300 F-35s include 197 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variants, 75 F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variants, and 28 F-35C carrier variants (CV) and have been delivered to U.S. and international customers. More than 620 pilots and 5,600 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 140,000 cumulative flight hours.
As production volume increases and additional efficiencies are implemented, Lockheed Martin says it is on track to reduce the cost of an F-35A to $80 million by 2020. With the incorporation of lessons learned, process efficiencies, production automation, facility and tooling upgrades, supply chain initiatives and more, the F-35 enterprise has already significantly reduced costs and improved efficiency.
The F-35 program met its 2017 delivery target of 66 aircraft, representing more than a 40 percent increase from 2016. In 2018, the team is targeting 91 aircraft deliveries and is preparing to increase production volume year-over-year to hit a rate of approximately 160 aircraft in 2023.