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Pentagon loses a million F-35 parts — RT World News

Investigators find US military cannot account for missing fighter jet components worth $85 million

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) has been unable to account for approximately 1 million missing spare parts for its F-35 Lightning II fighter jet, the most expensive weapon system in the world. country’s history, according to a government study.

The lost parts, which include items such as bolts, tires and landing gear, are valued at around $85 million, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported on Tuesday. Since 2018, the Pentagon has reviewed the circumstances surrounding only 2% of identified part losses.

“Without the DOD taking steps to ensure that these spares are responsible under contract, the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) will not be able to acquire or maintain the responsibility for such spare parts and will not have data, such as locations, costs and quantities necessary for financial reporting or to ensure the protection of government interests,” the GAO said.

Spare parts are stocked around the world for use on the F-35 by the US military and allied nations that have purchased the aircraft, which is manufactured by defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Because the Pentagon’s F-35 JPO lacks a casualty tracking process, Lockheed Martin failed to flag more than 900,000 additional spare parts valued at more than $66 million for review, the official said. GAO.

The GAO report is just the latest black eye for the $1.7 trillion F-35 program, which has been plagued with reliability issues, including an engine vibration problem that led to a global recall order in March. Only about 30% of the US F-35 fleet is “fully capable of mission” any given day. US Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt warned last month that a low supply of spare parts could jeopardize US forces’ ability to keep the plane in service through the country’s next big war.

The GAO report attributed the parts losses in part to the Pentagon’s inability to oversee components owned by DOD and managed by contractors. DOD officials and contractors failed to reach an agreement on whether the parts should be classified as government-furnished goods, hampering the processing of lost inventory.

Pentagon orders patch for all F-35s worldwide

As of last October, the Pentagon had more than 19,000 spare parts worldwide awaiting F-35 JPO disposal instructions — for five years in some cases. The GAO said the DOD agrees with its four recommendations on strengthening coin pool accounting.

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