F-35 deliveries suspended after materials from China discovered

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F-35 deliveries suspended after materials from China discovered

The Pentagon halted delivery of F-35 jets Wednesday after a component used in the jet’s engine was found to have come from China. File Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler Harmon/U.S. Marine Corps

The Pentagon on Wednesday halted delivery of F-35 fighter jets to the military branches and international customers after it was discovered that a metal component used in the jet’s engines came from China.

The Defense Contract Management Agency notified the F-35 Joint Program office Aug. 19 that an alloy used in magnets contained in the jets turbomachine pumps was of Chinese origin.

Lockheed Martin makes the aircraft, but the turbomachine is made by Honeywell. A spokesperson for the F-35 Joint Program Office said there was no security risk.

“We have confirmed that the magnet does not transmit information or harm the integrity of the aircraft and there are no performance, quality, safety or security risks associated with this issue, and flight operations for the F-35 in-service fleet will continue as normal,” F-35 Joint Program Office spokesman Russell Goemaere said in a statement to Politico.

The problem was discovered after Honeywell learned from one of its suppliers that another supplier had used alloy sourced from China. Honeywell then reported it to Lockheed Martin.

“We are working with our partners and the DoD to ensure contractual compliance within the supply chain,” Lockheed Martin spokesperson Laura Siebert said in a statement.

“The magnet has no visibility or access to any sensitive program information. The F-35 remains safe for flight, and we are working with the DoD to resolve the issue as quickly as possible to resume deliveries.”

The F-35 is flown by the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, along with 10 other countries. Lockheed said that it has delivered 88 F-35s this year and it is on track to deliver 148-153.

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