The Pentagon has allowed F-35 suppliers Northrop Grumman and Honeywell to buy and use Chinese magnets worth $2 on the aircrafts radar system, landing gears and other hardware, according to a Reuters report.
Frank Kendall, chief U.S. arms buyer, said the waivers were needed to keep production, testing and training of the Pentagon's newest warplane on track; avert millions of dollars in retrofit costs; and prevent delays in the Marine Corps' plan to start using the jets in combat from mid-2015, according to the documents.
Without the waivers, both companies could have faced sanctions for violating federal law and the F-35 program could have faced further delays, the report said.
The waivers apply to inexpensive parts, including $2 magnets, installed on 115 F-35 test, training and production aircraft, the last of which are due to be delivered in May 2014. Lawmakers noted that several U.S. companies make similar magnets.
In one case, it would cost $10.8 million and take about 25,000 man-hours to remove the Chinese-made magnets and replace them with American ones, the documents indicate, the report added.