In discussing the issue of availability rates there are three distinct underlying components that affect the statistics that we should understand. If not, it is no more than an attempt at drive by shooting rather than an analytical objective determination of the situation. Upfront I have to admit that the statistics are terrible and in my view will remain so for quite a long time. Some of the issues we had discussed before and they remain a problem even today.
First of all we have the rather infamous ALIS system. It was identified years ago as a problem and has now become almost impossible to operate because of scale. IMO, someone should be fired for this because clearly they dropped the ball on this one. To-date other than adopting a "mad hatter" program to fix it, we do not know how they have progressed on this one. I would classify it as show me the results. Until then I don't trust that the program is getting their hands around this problem. In short don't expect improvement in mission capable rates until we see ALIS fixed.
Secondly, due to concurrency a lot of the F-35s will never be mission capable until they are retrofitted. In perspective, all F-35A produced up to Lot 8 i.e. 2016 are not mission capable. We are talking about 108 F-35As. In other words, as at end of 2018 at least 2/3 of the F-35A produced are not mission capable because they are not retrofitted to 3F standard. There are currently no plans to retrofit or that they ever will be. If this is not addressed, then the mission capable rates will continue to suffer.
Finally, I had expressed before and I will say it again. The F-35 program will never get to the 80 % rate. History with the F-22 and B-2 tell me realistically on a sustainable basis it is around the 50 % threshold. Setting unrealistic expectation is always a recipe for failure