F-35 Parts to Be Catalogued in System by End of Next Year, Program Says

In 2019, the Pentagon Inspector General found that the F-35 program was unable to track parts adequately for the Lockheed Martin [LMT] fighter, as the program had not chosen an Accountable Property System of Record (APSR) required by DoD Instruction 5000.64 until October 2017 and had not catalogued parts in the system.

In response to email questions, the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. said on Aug. 26 that it will have such parts verified and catalogued by the end of next year.

“The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) is on track to meet scheduled milestones, and to have the Accountable Property System of Record (APSR) populated with verified property records by Dec. 31, 2022,” the program said. “The JPO is working directly with the Defense Logistics Agency Program Management Office for the JPO’s designated APSR, the Defense Property Accountability System (DPAS). The JPO has made considerable progress executing a multi-faceted approach to implement the APSR, while concurrently verifying property through physical inventory.”

The F-35 JPO said on Aug. 26 that it is working with the DoD acquisition and sustainment office and industry “to resolve existing weaknesses and close the IG recommendations.” The F-35 program declined to elaborate on what it meant by “existing weaknesses.”

When the F-35 program began in 2001, the plan was for Lockheed Martin to handle logistics support. In the last several years, that responsibility has shifted to the government. Per the March, 2019 DoD IG report, the only available estimates of parts come from Lockheed Martin and its engine subcontractor, Pratt & Whitney [RTX]. Those estimates from December 2018 indicated 3.45 million parts worth $2.1 billion–$1.1 billion of government furnished property and $986 million of contractor acquired property (CAP)–at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth plant.

The CAP estimate included $598 million in special tooling and test equipment, $232 million in parts older than 10 years, and $156 million in parts less than 10 years old.

The Government Accountability Office has said that DoD was unaware of the location of F-35 program parts and that DoD was unable to match dollars spent to specific major end items and major parts.

“As a result, the DoD does not have an independent record to verify the contractor‑valued government property of $2.1 billion for the F-35 program,” the Pentagon IG re-iterated in a report this March. “Without accurate records, the F-35 program officials have no visibility over the property and have no metrics to hold the prime contractor accountable for how it manages government property. The lack of asset visibility restricts the DoD’s ability to conduct the necessary checks and balances that ensure the prime contractor is managing and spending F-35 program funds in the government’s best interest and could affect the DoD’s ability to meet its operational readiness goals for the F-35 aircraft.”

“Without a DoD record of GFP for the F-35 program, the DoD could acquire equipment and parts that it does not need, which is a waste of funds. Conversely, the DoD might not order equipment and parts that it believes were already procured, adversely affecting operations. In addition, the lack of existence and completeness of DoD inventory (GFP) directly affects DoD financial statements. The lack of a DoD record of GFP for the F-35 program results in an understatement of either the assets or expenses of DoD financial statements.”

In February last year, the Defense Logistics Agency said it would begin transferring F-35 government-owned parts from Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney plants to DLA sites co-located with six air logistics and fleet readiness centers, including the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex and Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill AFB, Utah. The parts inventory data is to appear in DLA systems to provide an ASPR.

At times, F-35 bases have not received spare parts with electronic equipment logs (EELs) that help gauge part health, or F-35 bases have received faulty EELs, but in July last year Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s then-vice president and general manager of the F-35 program, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that Lockheed Martin had largely resolved the problem and had reached 83 percent Ready-For-Issue in delivered spare parts (Defense Daily, July 22, 2020).