F-35 deliveries suspended by Pentagon
The deliveries of the F-35 to the U.S. Department of Defense by Lockheed Martin are suspended, according to Reuters. Both parties are arguing over who should pay for the repair of a manufacturing flaw.
The technical issue is not publicly disclosed. However, it could require for Lockheed technicians to conduct repairs in every country where the plane was delivered, resulting in massive costs. On January 30, 2018, more than 265 F-35 were delivered to the U.S. and other customer countries.
Sources talking to Reuters said the dispute between Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Department of Defense was caused by the uncertainty as to who should repair the new problem. Lockheed is putting the responsibility on the Pentagon inspectors for not spotting the problem during the initial review of delivered planes.
It is the second time F-35 are held off by Pentagon. In late 2017, the deliveries were suspended for a month because of a technical problem: the fastening points holding the carbon-fiber exterior panels to the aluminum airframe were showing abnormal signs of corrosion because of a lack of protective coating. After the problem was fixed, deliveries resumed and Lockheed Martin eventually met its yearly goal of 66 deliveries.
Despite the new suspension, Lockheed is affirming that the delivery target of 91 planes for 2018 would once again be met
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