Washington [US], September 8 (ANI): The Pentagon has stopped accepting new F-35 jets after discovering an engine magnet used in the stealth fighter was made with unauthorized material from China.
In a statement on Wednesday (local time), Lockheed Martin and the Department of Defense confirmed that a part used in the aircraft’s engine was made in China.
In a statement to The Hill, Defense Contract Management Agency spokesperson Russell Goemaere said the alloy used in magnets in F-35 turbomachine pumps was manufactured in China.
A temporary pause in the acceptance of new F-35 aircraft was imposed in accordance with defence regulations concerning specialty metals, according to Goemaere.
Although Lockheed manufactures the aircraft, Honeywell makes the turbomachines.
One of Honeywell’s third-tier suppliers notified the company in late August that the turbomachine was being magnetized in the United States using alloy sourced from China.
“The delivery of the magnet has been temporarily paused out of an abundance of caution,” the statement said, noting that it does not provide visibility or access to sensitive program information and that there are no safety concerns regarding the F-35s.
The Hill reported the F-35 Joint Program Office confirmed the part does not affect flight operations of the fifth-generation fighter jets already in service.
According to Goemaere, the magnet does not transmit information or harm the aircraft’s integrity, and flight operations for F-35s in service will continue as usual. There are no performance, quality, safety, or security risks associated with this issue.
Future turbomachines will use an alternative source for the alloy, according to the Pentagon and Lockheed.