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DLA Launches Efforts to Improve F-35 Supply Chain Visibility; Rick Teal Quoted

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The Defense Logistics Agency is working to enhance the Department of Defense’s visibility of the supply chain for the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 fighter aircraft, DOD reported Wednesday.

“The first attempt to making the supply chain more organically visible was to stand up DLA Distribution support, and as the fleet grows with different logistics and sustainment concepts evolving, we’ll continue to grow too,” said Rick Teal, program manager for DLA’s F-35 Supply Chain Integration Program.

According to Teal, DOD has initiated measures to increase its involvement in sustainment by transitioning to an organic management process amid the growth of the F-35 fleet, which is expected to reach approximately 1,400 aircraft by the end of 2025.

DLA, the F-35 joint program office and service branches are in the early planning phase as they work to determine how to shift sustainment management work from the contractor to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force in accordance with Section 142 of the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

“At this juncture the planning is immature, and even though it shifts sustainment responsibilities from the prime contractors to the services, changes will continue to leverage organic government facilities, capabilities and systems in addition to industrial capabilities — just like our support for other weapons systems,” Teal said.

Teal also cited DLA’s efforts to catalog the aircraft’s common parts and partnership with U.S. Transportation Command to tap into the latter’s shipping capabilities.