Pentagon Discloses New Quality Glitch on Lockheed's F-35 Jets (excerpt)
(Source: Bloomberg News; published Nov 01, 2017)
By Anthony Capaccio
The Pentagon’s F-35 program office is weighing how to fix to a newly discovered glitch in the fighter -- the military’s most expensive program -- that halted deliveries of the Lockheed Martin Corp. plane for 30 days.
The problem was linked to a primer that’s supposed to be applied as a protective layer on aluminum fasteners to prevent corrosion. The Defense Department temporarily stopped deliveries of the next-generation jet for the month ending Oct. 20 to assess the issue.
“After a thorough government and industry investigation, it was discovered that Lockheed Martin had not applied the required primer in fastener holes on F-35 substructures during the aircraft production process,” Pentagon spokesman Joe DellaVedova said in an email. “This is a production quality escape issue and, though it needs be corrected to prevent potential future corrosion, it does not pose a safety of flight risk to the F-35 fleet or affect current operations.”
Discovery of the flaw came after the Pentagon already has taken delivery of about 250 F-35s to date and plans to accelerate production to include a block purchase by U.S. allies of as many as 211 jets starting with the 12th production lot.
A Lockheed Meeting
The fastener glitch has been flagged to Pentagon officials preparing Ellen Lord, the undersecretary for acquisition, for a meeting scheduled Nov. 6 with top Lockheed officials, including Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson, according to an official who asked not to be identified because the meeting hasn’t been publicly announced. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Bloomberg News website.
Lockheed F-35 Jet-Fighter Deliveries Were Halted for 30 Days: Pentagon (excerpt)
(Source: Reuters; published Nov. 01, 2017)
By Mike Stone
WASHINGTON --- The Pentagon halted shipments of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jets for 30 days this fall after it discovered corrosion around fasteners and a fix was devised, the Pentagon and Lockheed said on Wednesday.
During maintenance, the Air Force detected "corrosion exceeding technical limits" where the carbon fiber exterior panel is fastened to the airframe. A lack of protective coating at the fastening point that would have prevented corrosion was identified as the primary problem, the Pentagon said.
The fastener issue on the current F-35 fleet is not affecting flights, nor is it a safety concern, the Pentagon said. Lockheed is investigating the extent of the corrosion issue across the fleet of more than 250 jets deployed to the U.S. military and its allies.
Trading volume for Lockheed's shares spiked after the news and the stock briefly turned negative. They were last up 0.1 percent at $308.43.
Production was not stopped and deliveries for the fighter jet have resumed.
"While the issue was being evaluated, all F-35 deliveries to our customers were temporarily suspended by the F-35 Joint Program Office from Sept. 21 – Oct. 20 while we determined the corrective action plan," Lockheed said in a statement.
The delivery pause was not expected to derail the Pentagon's target of accepting 66 jets in 2017. Lockheed, the Maryland-based weapons maker, delivered 46 jets in 2016.
The Pentagon said in a statement that although the issue "needs be corrected to prevent potential future corrosion, it does not pose a safety of flight risk to the F-35 fleet or affect current operations." (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.