US DoD works to improve RFI rate for F-35 aircraft parts

23 July 2020 (Last Updated July 23rd, 2020 11:51)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is working to improve the ready-for-issue (RFI) rate for F-35 Lightning joint strike fighter (JSF) parts.

US DoD works to improve RFI rate for F-35 aircraft parts
The US DoD is working to improve the RFI rate for F-35 JSF parts. Credit: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Parker.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is working to improve the ready-for-issue (RFI) rate for F-35 Lightning joint strike fighter (JSF) parts.

While installing on the aircraft, parts for the aircraft are to be accompanied with an electronic equipment log (EEL) through the jet’s Autonomic Logistics Information System.

Without the EEL, parts are not deemed to be RFI, delaying installation on the aircraft.

US Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Under Secretary Ellen Lord said: “The department has taken near-term action to address key degraders of RFI rate.

“But the long-term solution to the problem depends on the already underway effort to replace [the autonomic logistics information system] with a more stable, capable system.”

As part of a short-term solution, fixing the recognised limitation has resulted in increased RFI rates at Hill Air Force Base (AFB), Utah, and Luke AFB and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona.

Last month, the RFI rate increased to 83%.

As a long-term solution, the F-35 parts to be delivered with EELs will require to replace ALIS with the Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN).

Lord added: “The department will introduce the first tranche of ODIN capability fleetwide by the end of 2021.

“In the interim, the department has been working to develop solutions to the legacy ALIS system to improve EEL’s accuracy, tracking and transmission performance to reduce maintenance workarounds and to mitigate potential risks to the fleet.”

Currently, approximately 1,000 out of 50,000 parts on an F-35 require an EEL.

To further reduce the readiness problem, the department is focusing on reducing the number of parts that require an EEL.

F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office program executive officer airforce leuitnant general Eric Fick said: “It takes a significant effort in time for maintainers to reconstruct the part history and create a digital record for that part.

“This activity diverts time from scheduled maintenance, increases the probability of human error, adding cost to the programme. The bottom line is, we must receive our parts on time and with all the required identification markings and electronic records.”