The Pentagon announced it will temporarily halt deliveries of Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jets after learning from the manufacturer that a Chinese-made alloy was in a component of the stealth fighter jet, violating federal procurement rules. defending.
The Pentagon said a magnet containing the alloy used in part of the embedded battery did not pose any safety concerns.
“We have confirmed that the magnet does not transmit information or impair the integrity of the aircraft and there are no performance, quality, safety or security risks associated with this matter and flight operations of the serving F-35 fleet will continue as normal,” Defense Department spokesman Russ Goemaere said.
The Pentagon said that Lockheed Martin has already found an alternative source of the alloy for future deliveries.
The company voluntarily reported the breach, and a review is underway to determine how it occurred. The Pentagon did not disclose how many plane deliveries have now been delayed or how many had the alloy coming from China. The company plans to deliver up to 153 F-35s in 2022 and has delivered 88 so far.
The F-35 is one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world. The United States operates hundreds of these aircraft, which come in three configurations: the F-35A, conventional takeoff and landing, which is flown by the Air Force; the Marine Corps F-35B, which can land vertically; and the F-35C, configured for aircraft carrier operations.
“We are working with our partners and the Department of Defense to ensure contractual compliance within the supply chain. The Magnet has no visibility or access to any sensitive program information. The F-35 remains safe to fly and we are working with the DOD to resolve the issue as quickly as possible to resume deliveries,” Lockheed Martin said in a statement. The alloy is used in a system made by Honeywell for Lockheed Martin.