Stagnant F-35 Reliability Means Fewer Available Jets: Pentagon (excerpt)
(Source: Bloomberg News; published Jan 30, 2019)
By Tony Capaccio
WASHINGTON --- Durability testing data indicates service-life of initial F-35B short-takeoff-vertical landing jets bought by Marine Corps “is well under” expected service life of 8,000 fleet hours; “may be as low as 2,100″ hours, the Pentagon test office says in 2018 annual report obtained by Bloomberg that’s scheduled for release this week.

That means some jets are expected to start hitting service life limit in 2026.

Furthermore, there’s no “improving trend in” aircraft availability to fly training or combat missions as it’s remained “flat” over the past 3 years. Details come a day after Defense Sec. Pat Shanahan told reporters the F-35 “has a lot of opportunity for more performance.”

“Interim reliability and field maintenance metrics to meeting planned 80% goal not being met, test office director Robert Behler says in new assessment, as improvements “are still not translating into improved availability,” [with] Current fleet performance “well below” that benchmark. (end of excerpt)

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