ORLANDO, FL. --- The Pentagon is embarking on a comprehensive effort to examine the entire F-35 supply chain from top to bottom for opportunities to compete components and repair work, according to a top Department of Defense official.
The move is aimed at incentivizing suppliers to reduce cost and increase efficiencies, as the F-35 enterprise faces severe parts shortages and a skyrocketing sustainment bill.
Injecting competition into the supply chain could be the key to getting support costs under control, Robert McMahon, assistant secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness, during the MRO Americas conference April 11. The F-35 operations and sustainment bill has been pegged at over $1 trillion over the life of the program.
“Today we are in an environment that is almost totally reliant on the [original equipment manufacturer] and their subs to be able to do what we need to do. Is that a best-value proposition? The answer is no,” McMahon said. “How do I create a level of competition and opportunity for being able to sustain a weapon system differently than the way we have in the past?” (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: Given that Lockheed Martin owns the Intellectual Property rights to the F-35 design, as well as to its Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS), it is doubtful that the Pentagon has the contractual authority to force the current incumbents to compete their contracts.)