‘Lack of final quality check' drove F-35 non-conforming spare part problem

by Pat Host

Lockheed Martin had a high rate of delivering non-ready-for-issue (RFI), or installation, spare parts for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) within the last five years because part suppliers were sending spare parts directly to the field and not the prime contractor, according to a former F-35 programme official.

Speaking under conditions of anonymity, the former official told Janes on 4 August that Lockheed Martin had a final check of production parts, but not spare parts, being delivered for the F-35. The prime contractor would take delivery of production parts at one of its three final assembly and check-out (FACO) facilities to ensure that parts conformed with its electronic equipment logbook (EEL). If production parts were non-conforming, Lockheed Martin would fix them and make them RFI.

An F-35A begins a practice flight on 29 July 2020 at Hill AFB Utah. A former F-35 official said Lockheed Martin has had a poor spare part delivery rate since 2015 because the company was not performing a final quality check before the parts were delivered. (US Air National Guard)

An F-35A begins a practice flight on 29 July 2020 at Hill AFB Utah. A former F-35 official said Lockheed Martin has had a poor spare part delivery rate since 2015 because the company was not performing a final quality check before the parts were delivered. (US Air National Guard)

The former official said that the first time an opportunity arose to verify that a spare part conformed was when it was delivered to the field and a maintainer logged it into the F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS). This is when a maintainer would discover that the EEL was not right and thus the part was not RFI.

“The spare parts were getting directly to [maintainers] before there was a final check of the EELs, which I squarely blame on Lockheed Martin,” the former official said. “Lockheed Martin is responsible for the integrity of its supply chain.”

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/lack-of-final-quality-check-drove-f-35-non-conforming-spare-part-problem

Lockheed Martin had a high rate of delivering non-ready-for-issue (RFI), or installation, spare part...

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