The US Department of Defense has temporarily halted all F-35 fighter deliveries after learning that the warplane contained a component made from an alloy sourced in China, which violates federal acquisition rules, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
The department noted that the reason behind the suspension was a magnet in the engine, which used a cobalt and samarium alloy that came from China. More specifically, the magnet is a part of a turbomachine that provides power to the jet’s engine-mounted starter/generator. According to the Pentagon, the material poses no danger.
“We have confirmed that the magnet does not transmit information or harm the integrity of the aircraft and there are no performance, quality, safety, or security risks associated with this issue,” Pentagon spokesperson Russ Goemaere stated, adding that any already deployed F-35’s will continue operations as normal.
As it currently stands, US legislation and Pentagon policy prohibit the use of certain metals and alloys from a number of countries, including China, Iran, North Korea and Russia.