House committee targets Lockheed in probe of F-35 parts problems

F-35 costs are ballooning because Lockheed Martin is failing to deliver parts to the military that are ready to be installed, maintenance personnel told an ongoing House Oversight and Reform Committee probe.

The panel’s chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, and others said in a June 18 letter to Lockheed’s new chief executive, James Taiclet, that the Department of Defense faces “excess costs” because it “must divert personnel to troubleshoot these issues and use extensive workarounds to keep F-35 planes flying.”

Because of these issues, DoD has spent more than $300 million in added labor costs since 2015, and it expects to pay $55 million per year if Lockheed does not resolve them, according to government investigations. Lawmakers expressed fears that the problem will “grow and become more challenging” as the F-35 fleet expands.

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