Temporary Suspension of Flight Operations Announced for a Limited Number of F-35A Aircraft

September 16, 2016

In consultation with our customers, a precautionary suspension of flight operations was issued for 15 F-35A aircraft. This action was taken after non-conforming insulation was found on coolant tubing carrying Poly-Alpha-Olefin (PAO) throughout the jet’s wings.

This issue was discovered during depot maintenance on one of the impacted jets where loose insulation was discovered. The issue is confined to one supplier source and one batch of parts. In total, 57 F-35As are affected; 42 are in production and 15 have been delivered to the U.S. Air Force and Norway.

This is not a technical or design issue, it is supply chain manufacturing quality issue. It will likely require depot-level maintenance to address the corrective actions for the 15 jets in the field. The U.S. Government and Industry engineering teams are analyzing the best approach to resolve this issue. For the 42 F-35As in assembly, the issue will be addressed prior to their delivery.

Safety is always our first consideration and Lockheed Martin is committed to resolving this issue as quickly as possible to return jets to flying status.