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F-35 delivery resumed after suspension

10th May 2018
DELIVERIES of the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter have resumed after a clash between the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin over who pays to repair problems afflicting many of those already in service.

The company confirmed earlier this week that the stealth fighter was once again rolling off the production lines, with new deliveries being made to its US and international clients.

But who is responsible for the repair bill remains unknown.
And the incomplete nature of many existing F-35 stealth fighters is reportedly presenting real issues for pilots training to fly the advanced aircraft in combat.

Military.com reports the training unit at Eglin air force Base in Florida has its F-35s on ‘life support’ and is struggling to meet training requirements.

The issue emerged in March when the need to make quality control fixes to some 200 F-35s already delivered was raised.

While the nature of the new problems are being kept secret, a similar delivery shutdown was initiated last year after it was the corrosion of joints between the aircraft’s radar-absorbing composite panels and the aluminium structure was discovered.
Lockheed Martin was found responsible for not applying a specified corrosion-prevention treatment.

Reuters reports a Lockheed Martin spokesman this week refused to comment on whether it was their company or customers who will conduct the new repairs — or pay for them.

Lockheed spokesman Mike Friedman said: “While we don’t discuss specific cost figures and contracting terms, we have a comprehensive plan in place to effectively and efficiently address the F-35 hole primer issue.”
The Pentagon was equally vague.

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