WASHINGTON, DC --- The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme continues to struggle to acquire the proper amount of spare parts, six months after the Pentagon’s weapon tester announced it was a problem.
Air Combat Command (ACC) chief General James Holmes said on 28 June that while it is not unusual for a new airplane to have a spare parts problem, supply remains an issue. The Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) said in his January report for fiscal year 2017 (FY 2017) that the percentage of the entire F-35 fleet that cannot fly while awaiting replacement parts is increasing owing to inadequate supply support.
The tester blamed concurrency of production and development, lower-than-expected reliability for parts, inadequate fault isolation, and early programme decisions to not adequately fund procurement of spares.
Gen Holmes believes the primary issue is the F-35 programme ramping up production. As more aircraft are developed and delivered, he believes the US Air Force (USAF) will better refine the break rate on parts and improve planning for how many of them it will need.
“That prediction and getting it right takes you a few years to work through,” Gen Holmes told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington. (end of excerpt)
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