AFP
LM will produce 18 -24 F-35 short

LM will produce 18 -24 F-35 short 20 May, 2020

Lockheed Martin will produce less of F-35 in 2020. The company will have  18 to 24 jets short of the 141 scheduled for delivery this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for Lockheed’s supply chain to make components on time. The company is moving to an adjusted work schedule where production will slow over the next three months.

Lockheed aims to accelerate production as soon as possible to fill the gap before 2020 ends.

Beginning on May 23rd, Lockheed will divide the approximately 2,500 employees who staff the F-35 production line in Fort Worth, Texas, into three groups, moving them to the new schedule where each group works for two weeks and then has a week off. After one three-week rotation, the company will determine whether the system is successful and can either alter the schedule or continue until September 4th, it said in a statement.

Greg Ulmer, Lockheed’s vice president for the F-35 program says that the ongoing expulsion of Turkish suppliers from the F-35 program is also unlikely to be affected by the production slowdown at Fort Worth, as Lockheed has already identified companies to take over that work, he said. “With the vast majority of those, that alternate sourcing has been accomplished. I don’t see this as an impact to that.”

The US Government Accountability Office (GOA) however released a report on May 12th, 2020. The report indicates the supply chain problem that the main contractor LM faces.  The report has also stated that Turkish companies’ products will be available until 2022. The report does not state, but it implies that LM will be able to continue to produce aircraft as long as Turkish companies continue to deliver ordered items.  The qualification of some products that will replace Turkish items is not over yet.

 

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