The shortage of spare parts for the F-35 aircraft has degraded readiness. The aircraft were not able to fly about 22 per cent of the time in the past year due to shortage of spares, Government Accountability Office has stated in its latest report.
The GAO in its October 30 report, put up a table defining various key challenges faced for F-35 aircraft sustainment according to which, Department Of Defense' capabilities to repair F-35 parts at military depots are 6 years behind schedule, which has resulted in average part repair times of 172 days—twice the program's objective.
From January through August 7, 2017, F-35 aircraft were unable to fly about 22 percent of the time due to parts shortages. This has degraded readiness.
DOD has not defined all of the technical data it needs from the prime contractor, and at what cost, to enable competition of future sustainment contracts. Technical data include the information necessary to ensure weapon system performance and support.
The Marine Corps' initial F-35 deployments on ships in 2018, and potentially the initial ship deployments for the Navy, will not include required intermediate-level maintenance capabilities. Such capabilities provide a level of support between the squadron and the depots, so that repairs can be done at sea. DOD has identified initial intermediate capabilities that it plans to implement, but funding to do so is not yet in place.
The Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is a complex system supporting operations and maintenance that is central to F-35 sustainment, but planned updates will likely be delayed, and requirements for ALIS development are not fully funded.