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Industry isn’t building enough parts for upgraded F-35s, DOD says

December 13, 2023

Audrey Decker

Defense One

Crew chiefs assigned to the 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, perform a pre-flight check for an F-35A Lightning II aircraft at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, Feb. 13, 2023. U.S. AIR FORCE / SENIOR AIRMAN JOSHUA HASTINGS

By Audrey Decker, Defense One / December 13, 2023

Shortages of just a few parts are slowing deliveries of the F-35’s latest upgrade, which is on track to cost almost $1 billion more than expected, Pentagon officials told lawmakers.

Hardware for the Technology Refresh-3 upgrade is not being produced fast enough, F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt said Tuesday during a House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee hearing.

Lockheed Martin and other companies are “not meeting our contractual requirements and there's really a couple of components within the TR-3 hardware that is driving that—but you need all the components to make the TR-3 kit,” Schmidt said.