Replacement Parts

F-35 Plane: DOD Will have to Assess and Replace Its Engine Sustainment Method to Improve Desired Results

What GAO Discovered

The Division of Protection’s (DOD) F-35 engine sustainment technique does no longer meet the specified results of the army services and products. DOD’s present technique, if applied as deliberate, lets in for six % of its F-35 plane to be non-mission succesful, or not able to accomplish assigned missions, because of engine problems. The army services and products want results very similar to their different tactical fighter plane, which since 2017, have usually skilled 1 % or much less of plane being not able to perform because of engine problems, in keeping with officers. Till DOD assesses its F-35 sustainment technique, together with its targets, and reaches settlement on any wanted adjustments, this system will fall wanting the specified results of customers.

DOD has no longer met a number of key efficiency targets for maintaining the F-35 engine. First, DOD handiest met its 6 % or much less non-mission succesful because of engine problems purpose in a single month from January 2021 thru February 2022. In consequence, the selection of F-35 plane not able to fly because of the loss of an running engine has been expanding since January 2020 with a slight lower from July 2021 thru February 2022. 2nd, DOD has met 3 of 5 of its reliability and maintainability targets—metrics geared toward making sure that the F-35 engine will likely be to be had for operations versus out of provider for repairs. The targets that DOD has no longer met have led to higher-levels of repairs.

F-35 Plane with out an Running Engine, January 2020–February 2022

F-35 Plane: DOD Will have to Assess and Replace Its Engine Sustainment Method to Improve Desired Results

DOD has evolved and is imposing corrective-action plans since fall 2020 to support the capability of its engine-repair repairs depots. DOD’s plans have led to enhancements, equivalent to decreasing the time to fix a key module of the engine from 207 days in October 2020 to 119 days in January 2022. Alternatively, DOD’s plans are extremely depending on assumptions about acquiring investment and its skill to handle long term dangers. One space that has no longer been totally addressed is an settlement between DOD and the high contractor on a style for forecasting spare portions wishes. The high contractor and DOD are the usage of other knowledge inputs to estimate spare portions wishes. Till addressed, this system dangers long term portions shortages that would impact its skill to fix engines and make sure F-35 plane have running engines.

Why GAO Did This Learn about

The F-35 plane, with its complicated functions, represents a rising portion of DOD’s tactical aviation fleet—with over 400 plane in use thus far. DOD plans to acquire about 2,000 extra F-35s with estimated life-cycle prices of this system exceeding $1.7 trillion; $1.3 trillion of the ones prices are related to maintaining the plane. GAO prior to now reported that demanding situations maintaining the F-35 engine might pose its biggest sustainment chance over the following 10 years.

Space Record 116-442 incorporated a provision for GAO to study F-35 engine sustainment demanding situations.

This document evaluates the level to which (1) the F-35’s engine sustainment technique has been aligned with army provider desired results; (2) DOD has met efficiency targets for maintaining the F-35 engine; and (3) DOD has evolved and applied plans to handle any demanding situations. GAO reviewed program documentation, analyzed sustainment knowledge, and interviewed officers from DOD and the high contractor for the F-35 engine, Pratt & Whitney.

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