Lockheed Martin makes its F-35 training equipment cheaper


A Lockheed Martin F-35 jet arrives at its new operational base at Hill Air Force Base, in Northern Utah. (Photo: AP)

US security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin is cutting the price of its F-35 fighter jets' full mission simulators by using new technologies such as 3D printing.

The Maryland-based company said Tuesday that the cost of the F-35 full mission simulator -- which was designed to help trainees experience flight and combat in a simulated F-35 cockpit on the ground -- has dropped by 3 million US dollars per unit.

"We're serious about driving out costs and excited to generate continued production savings across all our programs using advanced manufacturing," said Amy Gowder, vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin's Training and Logistics Solutions.

The company cut the cost of the simulator through several ways, including executing long-term supply chain contracts, employing automation on the production line and using advanced manufacturing technology such as 3D printing.

The company expected that advanced technologies such as printing of simulator cockpits could save an additional 11 million U.S. dollars during the next five years.

"We aren't stopping here," said Gowder, "in addition to our production savings, we're investing more than 30 million U.S. dollars through 2020 to reduce F-35 training sustainment costs while increasing concurrency and capability."