Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, head of the F-35 joint program office, has said the fighter program has started to “ramp up production” and expanded the fleet to at least 210 jets that have recorded more than 73,000 flight hours, DoD News reported Thursday.
Terri Moon Cronk writes Bogdan told members of the House Armed Service Committee’s tactical air and land forces subpanel Thursday that Lockheed Martin-built F-35s have entered service in the U.S., Italy, Israel and Japan and that the Air Force and Marine Corps have considered the aircraft’s weapon systems combat-ready.
“The development program is nearing completion within the cost and schedule boundaries put in place in the 2011 rebase line,” he said.
Bogdan told lawmakers he believes his office is “on track” to reduce the price of the F-35A model from approximately $94.5 million today to “between $80 million and $85 million” apiece by fiscal year 2019.
“As part of this reduction, we have initiated a block buy strategy for our foreign partners and an economic order quantity contracting strategy for the U.S. services,” he added.