Losses and Aviation Safety

Pentagon’s report finds that Boeing has been producing F-15s, F/A-18s with quality issues for years

Undelivered aircraft have been found with missing, backwards and out-of-specification fasteners. Jets under assembly are inadvertently damaged when they hit maintenance work stands or other equipment on the floor

Bloomberg has reported that the Pentagon is faulting Boeing for continuing quality, management and other deficiencies in the production of F-15s and F/A-18 fighters at its St Louis production facility.

Undelivered aircraft have been found with missing, backwards and out-of-specification fasteners. Jets under assembly are inadvertently damaged when they hit maintenance work stands or other equipment on the floor.

However the company said it’s addressing the watchdog’s concerns.

“Boeing and the Defense Contract Management Agency [DCMA] work together to address open corrective action requests through the evaluation and implementation of solutions that resolve identified issues,” spokesman Philip Carder said in an email response to questions about the unresolved alerts.

“Boeing is either currently implementing corrective plans already approved by DCMA or awaiting approval from the agency on corrective plans we have submitted” for the four open requests, Carder added.

According Bloomberg the watchdog is responsible for monitoring the performance of defense contracts at company facilities. It issues Corrective Action Requests (CARs) of varying degrees of severity from a Category I (the most basic) to Category III and IV alerts that go to top management. Boeing has four Category III requests outstanding.

The cases have been ongoing for years, with two stretching more than 800 days. The oldest was issued because Boeing had an ineffective corrective system that “failed to prevent recurrence of” deficiencies “identified through multiple repeat ‘safety of flight’” flaws, or “non-conformances.”

The second-oldest unresolved alert was issued for what’s called “ineffective control” of material that didn’t meet specifications because of the company’s “departure from contractual requirements regarding the identification, control and disclosure of non-conforming material,” the agency said.

A third unresolved request, originally issued to highlight inadequate “management responsibility” on the F-15 program, has been lingering for more than 737 days. The agency found “repeat instances of aircraft damage” and safety “non-compliances” to technical orders that “demonstrated a failure in Boeing St. Louis top management” of a “commitment to ensure compliance to requirements.”

Noteworthy President Donald Trump has become a vocal advocate of Boeing’s fighter jets, regularly promoting their capabilities to visiting heads of state. The president’s fiscal 2019 budget plan requests $2 billion to add 24 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jets next year and 110 jets through 2023. The Obama administration had proposed ending purchases of the plane this year.

Even though the aerospace company was punished by the Pentagon by withholding payments, the report says Boeing is more focused on “maintain cash flow, increase profit and achieve contract award.”

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18F Super Hornet VFA-103 Jolly Rogers, AG200 / 166620 / 2007

Photo credit: Teddy Techer

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

View Comments

  • This is gross incompetence, seems to me the military asks for an increase in budget year on year. They receive it spend it on multi billion dollar contracts given with no competition. So sure as eggs are eggs business men see money in fact stupid amounts of tax payers money, their boardrooms are happy. The military receives its new hardware. Everyone's happy. So no one bothers to check the quality, reliability, standards or anything by the looks of things Does the US military think the Chinese or Russians would put up with this. We're talking repeatedly happening on a massive scale. Contracts keep on coming though.

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