Pentagon halts F-35 deliveries after discovery of China-made engine part

The Pentagon has stopped accepting new F-35 jets after discovering that a magnet used in the stealth fighter’s engine was made from unauthorized material from China, a US official said on Wednesday.

An investigation in mid-August found that an alloy in the engine’s oil pump did not comply with US purchasing laws that prohibit unauthorized Chinese content, said Pentagon spokesman Russell Goemaere.

“We confirm 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 issue and flight operations for the in-service F-35 fleet will continue as normal,” said Goemaere. .

Lockheed Martin, which makes the jets, said “the problem is related to a magnet on the F-35 Turbomachine made by Honeywell that includes cobalt and samarium alloy.”

In late August, Honeywell was notified by one of its 3rd tier suppliers for the turbomachine that they were using alloy sourced from China that was then magnetized in the United States, according to a Lockheed statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution, there is a temporary pause in deliveries,” the statement said, noting that the magnet does not provide visibility or access to sensitive program information and there are no security issues for the F-35s currently in use.

Honeywell International, which manufactures the part, said it “remains committed to providing high quality products that meet or exceed all customer contract requirements.”

An alternate source for the league will be used in the future, the Joint Program Office said in its statement.

There are other Chinese-origin magnets on the jet that have received waivers from former Pentagon officials.

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