The so-called ‘just-in-time’ logistics model that stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighters rely entirely on, particularly when it comes to spare parts, would present major risks in a large-scale conflict, according to the top U.S. officer in charge of the program. While that is troubling, it is hardly surprising. Unfortunately, even after years of major problems being readily apparent, the F-35 program continues to face significant supply chain hurdles that could seriously hamper the jets’ ability to perform sustained high-end combat operations against a major foe like China. Here’s why.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt, the current head of the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), raised his specific concerns about the just-in-time concept during a panel discussion on April 3, at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space conference and exhibition. Other U.S. officials, as well as industry representatives and foreign military officers, raised similar and otherwise related points during that talk and during other recent events.
The complexities and ballooning costs of sustaining F-35 fleets have been growing issues for years now.
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