Politico reports that the Pentagon has paused deliveries of F-35 fighter jets to the U.S. military. The decision comes as Lockheed Martin discovered that one of the plane’s key components was sourced from China.
Fox News reports that the part in question “is a magnet used in the F-35’s turbomachine pumps.” The component reportedly contains an alloy sourced from China.
U.S. military officials were reportedly made aware of the issue on Aug. 19. Fox News noted that U.S. procurement laws prohibit sourcing supplies for military equipment from foreign adversaries.
Russell Goemaere, F-35 Joint Program Office spokesperson, reported that “the discovery does not affect flight operations of F-35s already in service,” according to Politico.
Goemaere’s statement reads: “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.”
Lockheed oversees the building of the F-35s, but Honeywell outsourced the manufacturing of the turbomachine pump, which was found to include a key component procured from China, according to Politico.
The F-35 is America’s premier fighting aircraft. A fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, its design and capabilities are closely guarded secrets.
Breaking Defense news reports that in July, the “U.S. Air Force ordered all in-service F-35s to stand down for a day due to concerns over faulty ejection seats.”
The one-day grounding was reportedly ordered as a precaution.
Air Combat Command (ACC) said in a statement at the time: “Out of an abundance of caution, Air Combat Command units will execute a stand-down on July 29 to expedite the inspection process. Based on data gathered from those inspections, ACC will make a determination to resume operations.”
Regarding the one-day stand-down, Breaking Defense news noted that “The Air Force … completed the Time Compliance Technical Directive on all F-35 ejection seat initiator cartridges, with a few exceptions, and all aircraft have resumed normal operations.”
Capt. Erica Feehan, ACC spokeswoman, reported:
“Across the Air Force, technicians inspected a total of 706 cartridges, which came from 349 F-35s as well as additional supply. Four cartridges were found to be suspect and have been replaced. Those four suspect cartridges have since undergone further inspection and were determined compliant.”
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