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15 Turkish key parts could stop F-35s production, the US GAO said

WASHINGTON, (BM) – American F-35 fighters can no longer be delivered to their customers due to measures taken by Turkey in response to Washington’s attempt to impose sanctions against Ankara for the acquisition of Russian S-400 systems, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

Read more: End of story – Turkey is no longer on the F-35 program list

According to sources, several components for the American F-35s manufactured in Turkey are no longer supplied to the assembly plants for these combat aircraft, and at the moment the production has dropped dramatically.

According to US news agency Breaking Defense the bigger problem in the short term is that 15 key parts for the $428 billion F-35 program are “not currently being produced at the needed production rate.” How serious is this problem? How and how much will it slow production?

“The program has identified new sources for 1,005 parts produced by Turkish suppliers, but the program is assessing the effect of 15 key parts not currently being produced at the needed production rate,” the GAO audit found. Breaking Defense asked the JSF PEO for details and did not receive an answer by press time.

Read more: US Senate Committee approves sanctions against Turkey over S-400’s purchase

This comes on top of parts that continue to arrive late for production. The Defense Contract Management Agency found that “between August 2017 and July 2019, the number of parts delivered late increased from under 2,000 to more than 10,000. Contractors told the government that “roughly 60 percent of parts shortages are attributable to 20 suppliers.”

The same problem was announced by Russian news agency Lenta.ru. According to the agency “the serial production of the fifth-generation American fighter F-35 Lightning II is threatened by problems with the supply of components from Turkey, which after the purchase of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems S-400 Triumph was excluded from the program for creating these aircraft”

Experts believe that this can create very serious problems for the USA, and, otherwise, Turkey can take much more radical measures against the USA, for example, by demonstrating the vulnerability of American combat aircraft to the Russian S-400, which will not only hit Washington’s authority, but also force US partners to abandon the acquisition of F-35 fighters.

The problems continue to pile up. According to Breaking defense the other broadly significant finding by the GAO is that the program is “not meeting manufacturing leading practices identified by GAO. Specifically, only about 3,000 of the over 10,000 airframe contractor’s manufacturing key processes meet predefined design standards for ensuring product quality. Also, the fielded aircraft, over 500 so far, do not meet the program’s reliability and maintainability goals. Although the contractor is changing manufacturing processes to address problems and improve efficiency, more remains to be done. Unless the program office evaluates the risks of not meeting these leading practices, the military services and international partners are at risk of not receiving the quality aircraft they purchased.”

Read more: ‘If Turkey Does Not Get the F-35, We’ll Looking for Alternatives’, the Turkish Foreign Minister Said

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