The Pentagon has halted deliveries of F-35 jets – the most expensive US jet used by the Air Force and Navy – after discovering that an engine component is actually made in China.
That component is a metal alloy that is part of an important magnet built into the engine of the F-35 fighter jet.
“On August 19, the Defense Contract Management Agency notified the F-35 Joint Program Office that a magnet alloy used in the F-35 is potentially noncompliant with the Supplement to Federal Defense Acquisition Regulations because the alloy was produced in People’s Republic of China,” Russell Goemaere, spokesman for the F-35 Joint Program Office, quoted by Futurism.
Concerns about the origin of components
However, the US military does not believe this harms the plane or endangers US intelligence operations.
“We have confirmed that the magnet does not transmit information, does not damage the integrity of the aircraft, and there are no performance, quality, safety or security risks associated with this issue, so F-35 flight operations will continue as usual,” officials said. from the Army.
The manufacturer claims that the F-35 jets are safe
That this happened in the first place does not inspire confidence though. Beyond the fact that China and the US aren’t exactly friends at the moment, the use of the alloy in the F-35 production line could mean that Lockheed Martin, the company that builds the plane, has violated the Buy American Act.
“We are working with our partners and the Department of Defense to ensure contractual compliance across the supply chain,” a Lockheed Martin spokesperson said.
“The magnet does not have access to any sensitive program information. The F-35 remains safe to fly and we are working with the Department of Defense to resolve the issue as quickly as possible to resume deliveries,” the company said.