Lockheed Martin Corp. has failed to supply ready-to-install spare parts for its F-35 fighter -- from wheels and tire assemblies to seats -- and may have been overpaid as much as $10.6 million in bonuses, according to the Defense Department’s inspector general.
“We determined that the DoD did not receive ready-to-issue F‑35 spare parts in accordance with contract requirements and paid performance incentive fees on the sustainment contracts based on inflated and unverified” hours that Air Force and Marine Corps planes would be ready to fly, the Pentagon’s internal watchdog said in a report released Monday.
It happened because the Pentagon’s F-35 program office “did not conduct adequate oversight of contractor performance,” according to the report. It found the office hasn’t resolved “contractor non‑performance related to the delivery of non‑ready-to-issue spare parts since 2015.”
“F‑35 aircraft are already proving to be more expensive to sustain than originally planned and, as the DoD adds more aircraft to the F‑35 fleet, the strain on the aircraft logistics system will increase,” the inspector general said. Problems with parts not ready to be installed “may continue to multiply and affect already increasing sustainment costs and F‑35 mission capable rates,” it said.
The long-term cost of operating and supporting the fleet of fighters over more than six decades has increased to $1.196 trillion, according to a Pentagon’s latest cost assessment of major projects. (end of excerpt)
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