WASHINGTON, April 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Defense has stopped accepting deliveries of F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin Corp because of a contractual dispute over fixing a production error, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
Reuters reported on the production issue in the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program on Wednesday. When the Defense Department stops taking deliveries of F-35s, foreign customers can also be affected.
"F-35 deliveries have been temporarily paused while the government and Lockheed Martin reach an agreement on a contractual issue regarding repair work to remediate the known aircraft fastener hole primer quality escape," the Pentagon said in a statement, referring to a primer applied to aluminum fasteners to prevent corrosion.
"This is not a safety of flight issue but rather a contractual resourcing issue that needs to be resolved. The government has implemented this pause to ensure the warfighter receives a quality product from industry."
Neither party discovered the issue at the time of production, so each has pointed to the other to fix it. It was not clear when the suspension of deliveries began.
The F-35 makes up a quarter of Lockheed's total revenue. (Reporting by Mike Stone; Writing by Makini Brice Editing by Susan Thomas)