DND is saying that the cost of operating the F-35 is very similar to the cost of operating the F-18.
googly isn't that forthcoming at the moment... for now, I'll throw this one up - I trust your citation (and supporting detail) will shoot it down:
...a leaked slide from NAVAIR claimed that the F-35 — a plane originally sold on the premise that it will offer 5th-generation fighter performance with a low price tag — would be far more expensive to operate than the Navy and Marine Corps current crop of fighters?
That document claimed the Navy and Marines’F-35C carrier variant and F-35B short Take-off and vertical landing variant JSFs would cost $30,700 per hour to fly versus the $18,900 an hour that the AV-8B Harrier and F/A-18 Hornet cost to fly.
pending your update/correction, for now, I'll go with the F-35 @ $32,500 per hour // F/A-18 @ $18,900 per hour. Wow! Quite the difference, hey? But again, the point being you don't seem to have an actual comment on the Pentagon figure of $32,500 an hour for the F-35! Apparently, to you... whatever it costs... it costs, right?