Lockheed Martin Under Fire Again from Congress Over F-35, This Time for Missing Spare Parts (excerpt)
(Source: The Dallas Morning News; published June 23, 2020)
By Kyle Arnold
DALLAS --- A group of high-ranking members of Congress is launching an investigation into Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet program after being told U.S. military had to spend $300 million in the past five years on defective and missing parts.
The trillion-dollar F-35 program is just getting over many of the problems that plagued its early design and production and now has hit delivery targets three years in a row and recently announced it had lowered the per-plane cost to $77.9 million.
But an investigation by the Department of Defense’s Inspector General said last year the office overseeing the spare parts program “did not receive … F-35 spare parts in accordance with contract requirements and paid performance incentive fees on the sustainment contracts based on inflated and unverified F-35A aircraft availability hours.”
The problem with spare parts will continue to cost the military about $55 million per year, the report said.
Now the problems are drawing the attention of U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She sent a letter to Lockheed on Tuesday demanding thousands of documents related to the F-35’s spare parts program. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Stars and Stripes website.
Air Crews Balk at Lockheed F-35 Parts That Aren’t Ready to Use (excerpt)
(Source: Bloomberg News; published June 23, 2020)
By Anthony Capaccio
Air crews maintaining the F-35 say they’re working extra hours to keep the Pentagon’s costliest aircraft flying because Lockheed Martin Corp. continues to provide parts that aren’t ready to install, according to leaders of a congressional committee.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee is examining Lockheed’s “failure to provide F-35 spare parts that meet contract requirements,” Representative Carolyn Maloney, the committee’s chairwoman, and Representative Stephen Lynch, who heads its national security panel, said in a letter to James Taiclet, Lockheed’s new chief executive officer, dated June 18.
On multiple base visits starting late last year, committee staff “learned troubling information about how unresolved issues with F-35 spare parts lead to excess costs” as the military must “divert personnel to troubleshoot these issues and use extensive workarounds to keep F-35 planes flying,” the lawmakers wrote. One commander warned that problems with the electronic logs needed to track each part’s vital information are “pervasive” and that time spent resolving them is a “massive manpower suck.”
Investigations have discovered instances of logs missing or containing inaccurate or corrupted information. The logs contain information such as a part’s history and its remaining useful life. Parts aren’t supposed to be installed without the data.
The commander of Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, with one of the biggest F-35 units, told investigators that from June through November 2019, 60% of the parts received had issues with the required information. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Bloomberg website.