Armed Forces News

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is still beleaguered by slow improvements in reliability and maintenance, according the government’s top watchdog. In an April 29 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) also noted that the Defense Department plans to undergo a $10.5 billion modernization effort “without a complete business case and while still developing key technologies.” The latter step could add to the plane’s cost and foster even more delays.

GAO recommended:

·     Senior civilian leaders at the Pentagon take steps to ensure that reliability and maintenance goals are realistic, and revise them accordingly if they are not.

·     Identify “specific and measurable [reliability and maintenance] objective s.

·     Have the F-35 program office identify and document the projects that will achieve the objectives of its improvement guidelines.

·     The Pentagon prioritize reliability and maintenance funding for the plane.

·     Provide a cost estimate, and an “approved test and evaluation and master plan” that “addresses resources, aircraft shortfalls and funding,” as well as an “independent technology readiness assessment.