Pentagon withholds $231M from Lockheed over F-35 fixes

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The Pentagon is withholding as much as $231 million from Lockheed Martin until it completes fixes to F-35 fighters that it has delivered, Bloomberg News reports.

The Pentagon is demanding that Lockheed correct “major variances” in the F-35 aircraft given to the military, including better protection against lightning strikes.

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The Defense Contract Management Agency is withholding $129 million for modifications to 16 Marine Corps F-35Bs, $83 million for fixes to 11 Air Force F-35A fighters and $17 million for tweaks to four Navy F-35Cs, according to Bloomberg.

A Lockheed spokesman said that as the planes were tested, the company “knew we’d find items to modify or fix for the fleet,” and money was set aside for that purpose.

The spokesman said the Pentagon had decreased the amount of money it is withholding per plane from its original projections.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the largest Pentagon procurement program in history, has been plagued by problems as the planes were simultaneously developed and produced.

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