Pentagon responds to GAO F-35 sustainment report

By Lee Hudson  
October 30, 2017 at 12:42 PM

The F-35 joint program office concedes the Government Accountability Office's F-35 sustainment report is "factually accurate," but argues it does not account for depot capability and capacity acceleration.

The JPO has implemented solutions to increase spare parts and reduce overall sustainment costs. The Pentagon executed $1.4 billion to increase spare part purchases, build up repair capacity and improve the speed of repairs, F-35 spokesman Joe DellaVedova told Inside Defense in an email.

In fiscal year 2017, the JPO accelerated depot capability by executing $114 million and invested $3.4 million in 28 reliability and maintenance improvement projects to reduce top maintenance cost drivers, according to DellaVedova.

"Examples of R&M initiatives include using existing support equipment to service F-35s, flattening supply chains to expedite spare part delivery, introducing new technologies that accelerate maintenance processes, consolidating recurring maintenance requirements, and incorporating feedback from maintainers and depot-level artisans to improve procedures," he wrote.

The JPO has increased F-35 intermediate-level maintenance capabilities for shipboard deployments by identifying select avionics and support equipment for repair. The program office is also working with the service to resource requirements, according to DellaVedova.

"The Pentagon has developed a five-year [Autonomic Logistics Information System] technical roadmap to address future requirements," DellaVedova wrote, adding: "This plan will be updated annually to reflect new and updated requirements to remain Cyber secure, technologically current, and minimize Life Cycle Cost."

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