F-35 program faces difficulties without Turkey. Lockheed Martin has problems to supply spare parts without Turkish companies which were producing near 1000 parts for F-35 program.
Us Government Accountable Office reports that; test and part production of the aircraft was significantly interrupted by Covid-19 pandemic. GAO also reported that Lockheed Martin is 9 months on delay for tests. And Turkey’s exclusion from the program makes situation worse. Turkish companies producing 1000 parts for F-35 fighter jet program.
In the GAO’s report; full capacity production of the aircraft may sail to the next march with the delay and it’s not a certainty.
Lockheed Martin tries ways to solve F-35 program difficulties
While Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program increases the production rate and negotiates low costs for aircraft; its production processes; does not meet the principal production practices standards set by GAO. In particular; only three thousand out of ten thousand fuselages supplied by the contractors; during the body production process; comply with the design standards set for product quality. At the same time; more than 500 aircraft landed on the runway still have not reached the program’s reliability and sustainability goals. Although Lockheed Martin changes production processes to solve these problems and increase efficiency; there is still much work to be done.Unless the program office assesses the risks to these principal production practices; US force commands and international partners may not be able to receive aircraft of the specified quality on sale.
The report also drew attention to the assessment of the risks will increase with Turkey’s removal from the program.
Turkey’s removal from the program in July 2019; due to concerns from receiving Russian origin air defense equipment to increase their production risks. The program has determined new sources for 1005 pieces produced by Turkish suppliers; but currently 15 pieces cannot be produced at the desired rate without Turkey.