US Defense Logistics Enhances Supply Chain Visibility for F-35 Aircraft

The US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is expanding the supply chain visibility for Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II multi-role fighter aircraft.

The sustainment builds on a contractor logistics support model that increases the involvement of the industry in securing capabilities required by the US defense.

“As the main logistics entity for the Department of Defense, we have worldwide storage and distribution assets in partnership with US Transportation Command that enable us to meet demands and also widen the government’s visibility of parts,” DLA F-35 Supply Chain Integration Program Manager Rick Teal explained.

“With legacy aircraft, we can see where everything is moving, how it’s moving, why it’s moving and where the hiccups are.”

Maintaining Distribution Support

The Department of Defense has increased its involvement by implementing an “organic management process” throughout the increase of the F-35 fleet, which is expected to grow to 1,400 units by 2025.

DLA Distribution employee assembles a wheel repair kit for F-35 aircraft. Photo: US DoD

DLA also works with the Lightning Sustainment Center and F-35 Joint Program Office to identify related warehousing and transportation needs and create National Stock Numbers to easily access supply chain data.

“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,” Teal said

“Instead of cataloging major systems end to end, DLA catalogs primarily those parts that are going to be going through the supply chain continuously, things that we know we’re going to buy on a recurring basis because our customers have a steady need for them.” 

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DLA in International F-35 Production

DLA will transition to its third year as a product support provider for North American Regional Warehousing. It manages F-35 retail parts at six distribution facilities on US Air Force and US Navy sites.

Two distribution houses supply wholesale requests for F-35s and propulsion systems to more than 860 F-35s in 16 countries.