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Lockheed F-35’s Factory Flaws Persist Even After 800 Are Built

  • Pentagon says flaws risk delivery delays, concern pilots
  • New assessment cites ‘too many quality assurance defects’
A Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35A jet.

A Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35A jet.

Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg

Lockheed Martin Corp. has delivered more than 800 F-35 fighter jets, but production is still marred by excessive defects and rework that risk substantial delivery delays and reduced readiness, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Contract Management Agency.  

Lockheed, the Defense Department’s top contractor, has improved in many regards from the F-35’s first production lot through the current 14th batch, but “too many quality assurance defects” aren’t found at the initial assembly station only to be discovered either before or after formal acceptance of the warplanes, the agency said in a statement.