The Pentagon halted delivery of F-35 jets Wednesday after a component used in the jet's engine was found to have come from China. File Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler Harmon/U.S. Marine Corps
Sept. 9 (UPI) -- An investigation is "moving quickly" into how a Chinese alloy ended up in components for F-35 jets and Pentagon officials hope to soon get a waiver for production to resume.
Delivery of F-35s to U.S. military branches and international customers was halted Wednesday after the Defense Contract Management Agency last month notified the F-35 Joint Program Office that an alloy used in magnets contained in the jets' turbomachine pumps was of Chinese origin.
Lockheed Martin makes the aircraft but the turbomachine is made by Honeywell. The use of Chinese materials is not allowed under Defense Department regulations but the Pentagon could issue a national security waiver to allow deliveries to resume.
"They're looking at two things: one, impact on security, if any, and impact on airworthiness or safety, if any," William LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment, said Friday. "Right now, so far it doesn't appear to be either of them."
Lockheed Martin and Pentagon officials said that a source for the alloy from the United States will be used in the future.
"I've just seen enough cases of discovering things in supply chains that I wouldn't be surprised by anything," LaPlante said, according to The Hill.
"Any company that says they know their supply chain is like a company saying they'd never been hacked, so it's an endless battle."