After learning that the magnets used in the world’s most advanced stealth fighter jet engine were built with illegal Chinese materials, the US Pentagon stopped accepting new F-35s. The Ministry of Defense and the Corporation announced on Wednesday that the aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin has discovered that a component used in the aircraft’s engine was built in China (local time). According to bureau spokesperson Russell Guimery in a statement to The Hill, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) informed the joint F-35 program office on August 19 that an alloy used in magnets in F-35 turboprops was manufactured in China.
Gomiere said the program office “has temporarily halted acceptance of new F-35s to ensure the F-35 program’s compliance with defense regulations” on specialty metals. Although Lockheed manufactures the aircraft, Honeywell produces the turboprop.
In late August, Honeywell was notified by one of its third-tier suppliers of the turbomachinery that they were using an alloy sourced from China that was then magnetized in the United States, according to a statement from Lockheed, The Hill reported.
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“Out of extreme caution, deliveries are on hold,” the statement said, noting that the magnets provide no visibility or access to sensitive program information and no safety issues for the F-35s currently in use.
The F-35 Joint Program Office also confirmed that the part does not affect the flight operations of fifth-generation combat aircraft already in service, The Hill reported. “We have confirmed that magnets do not transmit information or harm the safety of the aircraft, there are no performance, quality, safety or security risks associated with this issue, and flight operations for the in-service F-35 fleet will continue as normal.” Both the Pentagon and Lockheed said that an alternative source of the alloy would be used in turbine machines in the future.
(with input from ANI)