Lockheed Martin industry team has secured annualised contracts to support operations and sustainment of the global F-35 fleet.

Awarded by the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office, the contracts are for fiscal years 2021-2023.

As agreed, the new contracts will support mission readiness and aim to further reduce sustainment costs.

According to a Reuters report, the annualised contracts could be worth up to $6.6bn.

Work will include base and depot maintenance, pilot and maintainer training among others. It will also include fleet-wide data analytics and supply chain management for part repair and replenishment.

Lockheed Martin vice-president and general manager of the F-35 programme Bridget Lauderdale said: “Together with the F-35 Joint Program Office, we recognise the critical role the F-35 plays in supporting our customers’ global missions and the need to deliver this capability affordably.

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“These contracts represent more than a 30% reduction in cost per flying hour from the 2020 annualised contract, and exemplify the trusted partnership and commitment we share to reduce sustainment costs and increase availability for this unrivalled 5th generation weapon system.”

According to Lockheed Martin, it has reduced the cost per flight hour by 44% in the past five years. Now, it intends to reduce the cost by an additional 40% in the next five years.

The additional savings are expected to be achieved by enhancing the supply chain and manpower efficiencies.

The F-35 Joint Program Office leads F-35 sustainment and the Global Support Solution.

More than 690 F-35 jets have been built to date. These aircraft operate from 21 bases worldwide.

Last month, Lockheed Martin selected ReadSpeaker’s text-to-speech (TTS) enabled voice technology for the F-35 Lightning II jet training module.