Program Has Improved in Some Areas, but Affordability Challenges and Other Risks Remain
April 17, 2013
What GAO Found
The new F-35 acquisition baseline reflects positive restructuring actions taken by the Department of Defense (DOD) since 2010, including more time and funding for development and deferred procurement of more than 400 aircraft to future years. Overall, the program progressed on several fronts during 2012 to further improve the current outlook. The program achieved 7 of 10 key management objectives and made substantial progress on one other. Two objectives on aircraft deliveries and a corrective management plan were not met. The F-35 development test program substantially met expectations with some revisions to flight test plans and made considerable progress addressing key technical risks. Software management practices and some output measures improved, although deliveries to test continued to lag behind plans. Manufacturing and supply processes also improved--indicators such as factory throughput, labor efficiency, and quality measures were positive. While initial F-35 production overran target costs and delivered aircraft late, the latest data shows labor hours decreasing and deliveries accelerating.