Find Components From China, Pentagon Suspends Deliveries of F-35 Fighter Jets

Find Components From China, Pentagon Suspends Deliveries of F-35 Fighter Jets
Pentagon Suspends Deliveries of F-35 Fighter Jets

Washington - The Pentagon has temporarily halted deliveries of F-35 fighter jets after the advanced aircraft manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, discovered metal components used in the jet's engines came from China. The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) notified the Pentagon's F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) on August 19 that the alloy material used in the magnets contained in the F-35 fighter jet's turbo engine pump came from China.

Lockheed Martin built the entire aircraft, but the turbo engines were manufactured by Honeywell. The Joint Program Office said the discovery did not affect the flight operations of the F-35 fighter jets already in service. "We have confirmed that the magnets do not transmit information or compromise the integrity of the aircraft and there are no performance, quality, safety or security risks associated with this issue and flight operations for the fleet in F-35 service will continue as usual," a spokesperson for the Program Office said. Joint F-35 Russell Goemaere in a statement.

"Defense contractors voluntarily share information with DCMA and JPO after problems were discovered and they have found alternative sources for alloy materials to be used in future turbo engines," Goemaere continued as quoted by Politico, Thursday (8/9/2022).

The turbo engine integrates an auxiliary power unit and an air cycle engine into one piece of equipment. It provides electrical power for ground maintenance, main engine start as well as emergency power, and also provides compressed air for the thermal management system during ground maintenance.

"Honeywell remains committed to supplying high quality products that meet or exceed all customer contractual requirements," company spokesman Adam Kress said in a statement. "We are working closely with DOD and Lockheed Martin to ensure that we continue to achieve these commitments on the products that Honeywell supplies for use on the F-35."

The F-35 fighter jet is flown by the United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, along with 10 other countries. Read: Purchase of 36 US F-35 stealth fighter jets hampered, Swiss military restless Now that jet deliveries have been suspended, DCMA is investigating the causal factors of what caused Chinese alloys to be embedded in the F-35 fighter jet program.

If the government determines Lockheed Martin violates Buy America laws, the company will require a national security waiver for shipments to proceed. “We are working with our partners and the Department of Defense to ensure contract compliance in the supply chain. Magnet has no visibility or access to any sensitive program information.

The F-35 remains safe for flight, and we are working with the Department of Defense to resolve the issue as quickly as possible to resume deliveries," Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Laura Siebert said in a statement.

Meanwhile someone familiar with the matter said the F-35 JPO, DCMA and Lockheed Martin meet daily and conduct broader supply chain analysis. The Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Maintenance, William LaPlante, will decide whether the program qualifies for a national security waiver.

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