Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) reduced the cost of an F-35 Full Mission Simulator (FMS) by $3 million per copy since program inception, reflected in Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) lot 11. Comprised of 15 simulators, these LRIP 11 savings generate approximately $45 million savings for the F-35 program.
F-35 production teams at Training and Logistics Solutions (TLS) achieved these unit price reductions through several measures including:
- Executing long-term supply chain contracts and employing automation on the production line
- Leveraging advanced manufacturing techniques, highlighted by the integration of 3D printed simulator parts including component housings and brackets
Future use of this advanced technology, including the printing of simulator cockpits, is projected to save an additional $11 million during the next five years.
“We’re serious about driving out costs and excited to generate continued production savings across all our programs using advanced manufacturing,” said Amy Gowder, TLS vice president and general manager. “We aren’t stopping here. In addition to our production savings, we’re investing more than $30 million through 2020 to reduce F-35 training sustainment costs while increasing concurrency and capability.”
The $30 million sustainment investment includes:
- Modernizing the virtual training environment based on emerging threats and needs of F-35 operators
- Reducing costs by infusing new technologies to shrink hardware and software footprints in the computing and visual infrastructure, automating support tasks and reducing manpower support requirements
- Driving continuous concurrency between the training system and the F-35 aircraft
F-35 training milestones for 2019 include the initial Distributed Mission Training (DMT) capability and Block 4 training system upgrades. DMT allows physically separated aviators to train together and enables interoperability with 4th Generation platforms in a virtual environment.