"For example, media reporting on the 2010 SAR estimate included only operations and support costs, while recent reports on the 2011 SAR estimate add the cost of acquisition and development which the U.S. government currently estimates at $396B. This results in the appearance of cost growth year over year."
Development being constantly being over-schedule and over-budget obviously does not contribute to the appearance of cost growth.
"The government also included the cost of lifetime modernization to the aircraft to improve its capabilities — expenses that are not included in the cost projections for other aircraft."
...because other aircraft come with their baseline features out of the box, none of this spiral development nonsense.
"Lockheed Martin remains confident that F-35 operations and support costs will be comparable to or lower than that of the seven legacy platforms that it will replace."
"The F-35 also provides our Armed Forces and allies with the unprecedented 5th Generation fighter performance capabilities of radar-evading stealth..."
F-35 stealth is not all-aspect, not VLO.
Flight envelope is comparable to an F/A-18, i.e. the bomb-truck from 1980.
"..and the most comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft."
This is a massive coding project and most of it hasn't been done yet, expect more bugs, more overruns, more delays.
"The F-35 will achieve cost advantages over the platforms it will replace by leveraging economies of scale – gained through deployment by the three U.S. service branches and international partnerships – and a common logistics, maintenance, training and supply chain infrastructure."
You can streamline the logistics, but that's null if you require more maintenance and more expensive parts in the first place.
"The F-35 will also achieve lower or comparable operation and support costs than legacy systems while providing greater capabilities."