Pentagon found 363 production flaws in F-35

F-35 Lightning II completes Edwards testingThe Office of the Inspector General (U.S. Department of Defense) has published its F-35 Quality Assurance Assessment report which states that Pentagon has found 363 problems related to the production of the F-35 fighter, developed by Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Honeywell Aerospace and other contractors.

The Office of the Inspector General concluded that Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors did not follow disciplined AS9100 Quality Management System practices, as evidenced by 363 findings, which contained 719 issues. Identified issues could adversely affect aircraft performance, reliability, maintainability, and ultimately program cost.

Moreover, the report also states that Pentagon‘s F-35 Program Office didn’t ensure sufficient level of supervision of the Project and the contractors who are developing the fighter jet. For instance, the Joint Program Office did not:

Ensure that Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors were applying rigor to design, manufacturing, and quality assurance processes.
Flow down critical safety item requirements.
Ensure that Lockheed Martin flowed down quality assurance and technical requirements to subcontractors.
In addition, the Defense Contract Management Agency did not sufficiently perform Government quality assurance oversight of F-35 contractors.

„Although it would be unrealistic to expect first production to be issue free, our contractor assessments indicate that greater emphasis on quality assurance, requirement flow down, and process discipline is necessary, if the Government is to attain lower program costs,” states the report.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth-generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability. Pentagon plans to buy a total of 2,443 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The overall cost of the program over its 50-year life cycle – $1.51 trillion.

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