GAO:Military Aircraft Fell Short on Readiness in Past Decade

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Unread post20 Nov 2020, 22:51

Another overall look: ... worse-gao/
GAO: Most Military Aircraft Fell Short on Readiness in Past Decade [8 page F-35 extract attached below]
19 Nov 2020 Amy McCullough

"The vast majority of Defense Department aircraft, including all of the military’s most advanced fleets, fell short of their mission readiness goals over the past decade, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report....
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...F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
The Air Force’s F-35A and the Marine Corps’ F-35B did not reach annual aircraft availability goals from fiscal 2013 to 2019, while the Navy’s F-35C carrier variant hit that threshold in two of those years. For MC rates, the F-35A and F-35C reached their targets in two fiscal years, while the F-35B met its target once.

Last year, GAO said 52 percent of the F-35 fleet was ready to take on a combat mission, largely due to a lack of available spare parts. In 2018, the Defense Department had a backlog of 4,300 F-35 parts, though the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin are working to improve that pipeline.

DOD has also purchased F-35 parts in advance, an approach that hasn’t always worked out in its favor as the aircraft is updated over time.

“For example, 44 percent of purchased parts were incompatible with aircraft the Marine Corps took on a recent deployment,” according to the GAO. In addition, “DOD’s networks for moving F-35 parts around the world are immature, and F-35 customers overseas have experienced long wait times for parts needed to repair aircraft.”

F-35 sustainment costs are estimated at more than $1 trillion over the 60-year life of the program, making it DOD’s most expensive weapon system by far. Total operations and sustainment costs have ballooned from $55.6 million in fiscal 2011 to $2.2 billion in fiscal 2018, while maintenance costs have increased from $15.8 million to $758.4 million in the same time, according to the report. The F-35A accounted for the majority of those costs.

“The Air Force and Marine Corps recently identified the need to reduce their sustainment costs per aircraft per year by 43 [percent] and 24 percent, respectively,” GAO said.

When it comes to maintenance, GAO argues the Defense Department has a “limited capability to repair parts when they break.” The watchdog noted that, as of April 2019, the F-35 program “was failing to meet four of its eight reliability and maintainability targets, which determine the likelihood that the aircraft will be in maintenance rather than available for operations, including metrics related to part removals and part failures.”

In fact, the GAO claims DOD’s ability to repair parts is eight years behind schedule.

“DOD originally planned to have repair capabilities at the depots ready by 2016, but the depots will not have the capability to repair all parts at expected demand rates until 2024,” the report said. “As a result, the average time taken to repair an F-35 part was more than six months, or about 188 days, for repairs completed between September and November 2018—more than twice as long as planned.”

The Joint Program Office has taken several steps to address this issue, including taking less time to activate a depot, making sure parts are available earlier, and initiating performance-based logistics contracts to incentivize performance and cost improvements.

Air Force Magazine previously reported the F-35A had an MC rate of 61.6 percent in fiscal 2019...."

Source: ... st-decade/
F-35 quick look GAO 710794 pp8.pdf
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