PARIS --- The House Oversight and Reform Committee has written to Lockheed Martin President and Chief Executive Officer James D. Taiclet, blasting the company’s continuing failure to provide F-35 spare parts that meet contractual specifications, and requiring him to provide internal documents “to assist the Committee with this investigation.”
The letter is especially critical of two aspects of Lockheed’s performance on the F-35 spare parts issue: the fact that Lockheed “has failed repeatedly to deliver spare parts that meet contract requirements,” leading to excess costs for the military, and that the company “does not adequately document all instances” when spare parts are defective.
The letter also reveals that the “Committee is investigating Lockheed Martin’s failure to deliver spare parts to the Department of Defense (DOD) that were ready for installation on the F-35 aircraft.”
These are the most salient points mentioned in the letter, to which a link is available at the foot of the page:
“During a recent Committee briefing and multiple bipartisan staff delegations to military bases with F-35s, the Committee learned troubling information about how unresolved issues with F-35 spare parts lead to excess costs for the military (Emphasis added throughout—Ed.) because DOD must divert personnel to troubleshoot these issues and use extensive workarounds to keep F-35 planes flying.
“The DOD Inspector General (IG) reported that DOD estimates that it has spent more than $300 million in additional labor costs since 2015 as a result of receiving defective spare parts from Lockheed Martin, and DOD will continue to pay up to $55 million a year if Lockheed Martin does not resolve issues related to defective spare parts for the F-35 going forward.
Investigations Confirm Ongoing Issues with F-35 Sustainment
“In June 2019, the DOD IG found that “DOD did not receive RFI [ready for issue] F‑35 spare parts in accordance with contract requirements” and that Lockheed Martin “has been providing non‑RFI spare parts to F‑35 sites since 2015.”
“According to staff in the Joint Program Office, DOD is working with Lockheed Martin to reduce the total number of F-35 parts that require EELs by 45%. Reducing the number of parts that require electronic logs would decrease the potential for EELs to go missing or become corrupt. At a briefing with Committee staff, Lockheed Martin officials were unwilling to affirm their commitment to reducing the number of F-35 spare parts with EELs.
“DOD pays Lockheed Martin incentive fees on sustainment contracts based on the overall performance of the F-35 fleet. However, the true aircraft availability of F-35s is inflated because of local policies that allow bases to fly F-35s despite missing electronic logs. According to the DOD IG, the military “potentially overpaid $10.6 million in performance incentive fees” to Lockheed Martin because parts that failed to meet contract requirements were used to fly and perform assigned missions.
Since 2015, Lockheed Martin has failed repeatedly to deliver spare parts that meet contract requirements for the F-35 program. From December 2015 to June 2018, DOD personnel submitted more than 15,000 requests to Lockheed Martin to resolve issues related to defective spare parts. DOD estimates that it has spent more than $300 million in additional labor costs since 2015 as a result of receiving defective spare parts from Lockheed Martin, and it will continue to pay up to $55 million a year if Lockheed Martin does not resolve issues related to defective spare parts for the F-35 going forward.
GAO reported that users at one base estimated that they spend an average of 5,000 to 10,000 hours per year manually tracking information that should be automatically and accurately captured in ALIS. Lockheed Martin profits off the efforts of DOD personnel to keep aircraft in the sky through these workarounds.
Committee Request for Documents and Information on EELs and ALIS
“As the F-35 fleet grows, it is critical that ongoing issues related to EELs and the shortcoming of ALIS are addressed to prevent continued degradation of warfighter readiness. Lockheed Martin reported that issues with F-35 spare parts have declined, but according to military officials, Lockheed Martin does not adequately document all instances when EELS go missing or become inaccurate or corrupt. Without government access to Lockheed Martin’s tracker, the data cannot be independently verified.
The Committee is examining Lockheed Martin’s actions with respect to its failure to provide F-35 spare parts that meet contract requirements and its failure to ensure ALIS accurately and reliably maintains F-35 spare part data.
To assist the Committee with this investigation, please provide the following documents and communications on behalf of Lockheed Martin by June 30, 2020.
Carolyn B. Maloney
Committee on Oversight and Reform
Stephen F. Lynch
Subcommittee on National Security
Click here for letter’s full text, on the Oversight Committee’s website.