DoD IG Audit of Navy and DLA Super Hornet Spare Parts
- obsolete materials that are no longer made or available for purchase;
- manufacturing delivery and repair delays; and
- the Navy’s lack of technical data used in producing or repairing spare parts”.
They went on to state that “had Navy officials performed an overall independent logistics assessment as required for the Super Hornet Program between 2000 and 2018, the Navy would have identified causes for the deficiencies in obtaining spare parts and given the Navy the information needed to develop plans to correct the deficiencies. In addition, F/A‑18 E/F Program Office (PMA‑265) officials stated that a lack of sustainment funding contributed to the difficulties with obtaining spare parts. However, officials from the Chief of Naval Operations office stated that PMA‑265 received reduced funding because PMA‑265 officials had under‑executed its budget and naval aviation sustainment budgets were all reduced…As a result, Navy officials had cannibalized aircraft to obtain needed spare parts—removed working parts from an aircraft and installing those parts on a second aircraft to make the second aircraft operational. Therefore, each act of cannibalization increased the risk of damage to the aircraft or part, including:
- the maintainer breaking the part during removal or reinstallation, and
- corrosion from sections of the aircraft being removed and exposed to the elements during cannibalization or while awaiting a new part.
In addition, cannibalization takes time and money because a maintainer has to uninstall a usable part from one aircraft, reinstall the usable part on another aircraft, and then install the replacement part, once received, on another aircraft.”
The DoD IG also provided five major recommendations, many of which could be of interest or applicability to other programs both inside and external to the Navy, including recommending the program:
- “determine the parts or supplies that are obsolete or are limited in quantity and develop and implement a plan to minimize the impact of obsolete materials, including ensuring the parts or supplies are covered by the obsolescence program;
- develop alternative contracting sources to eliminate delivery delays;
- develop and implement plans, in coordination with organizations responsible for managing repair materials and support equipment for the Navy, to ensure the availability of those materials and support equipment needed to complete repairs; and
- develop and implement a strategy to obtain technical data, to obtain access to technical data, or to mitigate the barriers when the contractor owns the data rights in order to increase the Navy’s repair capability.
We also recommend that the Naval Air Forces Commander review the Navy’s cannibalization practice to determine whether aircraft maintainers are using cannibalization to avoid obtaining approval from higher level officials as required in Navy cannibalization guidance and determine whether the Navy should make changes to the guidance.”
A copy of the full report is also available on the DoD IG website.