Thousands of F-35 Fighter Jet Parts Worth $85 Million, Here's the Explanation!

Thousands of F-35 Fighter Jet Parts Worth $85 Million, Here's the Explanation!
Thousands of F-35 Fighter Jet Parts Worth $85 Million, Here's the Explanation!

Washington - The United States (US) Department of Defense cannot explain the thousands of spare parts for the missing F-35 Lightning II fighter jet, the most expensive weapons system in the country's history,. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported missing parts including items such as bolts, bans, and excess wheels, valued at approximately $85 million.

Since 2018, the Pentagon has reviewed the circumstances around only 2% of identified parts losses. Without the Department of Defense taking steps to ensure that these parts can be accounted for under contract, the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) will not be able to obtain or maintain accountability for these parts and will not have data, such as location, cost, and amounts, which are necessary for financial reporting or to ensure that interests are protected.

The parts are stored around the world for use on F-35 fighter jets by the US military and allied countries that have purchased the planes. Because the Pentagon's F-35 JPO has no process for tracking losses, Lockheed Martin has not submitted the more than 900,000 additional parts worth more than $66 million for review, GAO said.

The GAO report blamed the loss of parts in part on the Pentagon's failure to oversee components owned by the Pentagon and managed by publications. Pentagon and post office officials have yet to reach an agreement on whether the parts should be categorized as government property, hindering processing of the missing inventory.

As of last October, the Pentagon had more than 19,000 parts globally awaiting deployment instructions from JPO F-35s – as long as five years in some cases. GAO said the Pentagon agreed with its four recommendations to improve accounting for parts pools. The GAO report marks the latest hurdle for the $1.7 trillion fighter jet program.

Previously, the F-35 fighter jets have been plagued by summons issues, including an engine vibration issue that led to a global recall order in March. Only about 30% of America's F-35 fighter jet fleet is "fully mission capable" on any given day. US Air Force Lieutenant General Michael Schmidt announced last month that the thin supply of spare parts could jeopardize the ability of American forces to keep aircraft operational during the country's next major war.

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