WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new report from the Government Accountability Office says that the Department of Defense's F-35 program is challenged by slow maintenance and shortages of parts.
The report, released on October 26, says that the Department of Defense is facing "sustainment challenges that are affecting warfighter readiness."
Currently, there are more than 250 F-35 aircraft, with plans to triple the fleet by the end of 2021.
According to the GAO findings, capabilities to repair F-35 parts at military depots are 6 years behind schedule, which results in an average part repair time of 172 days, which is twice the objective of the program.
There are also a shortage of spare parts that the GAO says is degrading readiness.
"From January through August 7, 2017, F-35 aircraft were unable to fly about 22 percent of the time due to parts shortages," the report stated.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter comes in three variants for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
The Department of Defense plans to purchase just shy of 2,500 of the jets.