September 28, 2012 / 9:43 PM / 6 years ago

Pentagon seeks competition for sustainment of Lockheed F-35

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Friday said it was seeking to open the long-term sustainment of the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter program to competition from other companies as part of an overall drive to lower the cost of the new stealthy warplane.

The Defense Department invited companies to participate in a two-day public forum on November 14-15 to get more data on possible opportunities to compete for work managing the supply chain of the new fighter jet and providing support equipment, simulators for training and a computer-based logistics systems.

In a notice published Friday, the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) said it would use information from participating companies, along with other market research, “to refine its acquisition strategy and to evaluate alternatives that will deliver the best value, long-term F-35 sustainment solution.”

“This supports the broader F-35 JPO goals of increased affordability, transparency, predictability, and accountability for sustainment costs and performance,” it said in the notice posted on www.fedbizopps.gov.

The Pentagon estimated earlier this year that the total cost of operating and maintaining the airplane would be $1.11 trillion, including inflation, although officials have said they expect to lower that cost dramatically.

    Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Gary Hill

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