Almost half of US F-35s not airworthy

A highly critical US government report has revealed that almost half of the nation’s fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth jets are unworthy at any one time.

A report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that delays in establishing service centres, a lack of trained maintainers and a shortage of parts mean that only 55% of the force is operational at any one time.

The Department of Defense (DOD) plans to spend an estimated $1.7 trillion on nearly 2,500 F-35s. Most of the funds will go to operating, maintaining, and repairing the aircraft which will be operated by the USAF, US Navy, and US Marine Corps, as well as the Air National Guard and other reserve forces.

In its findings the report highlighted: “DOD faces costly maintenance issues for the F-35, such as: Delays setting up military service depots—facilities to complete the most complex repairs; Inadequate equipment to keep aircraft operational; Maintenance and supply delays affecting aircraft readiness.

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