A Pentagon Inspector Ge?neral report released Monday said more oversight is needed on the Pratt & Whitney quality management system, after inspections of two plants turned up 61 “nonconformities,” or violations of regulations, on the F135 engine program, which powers the F-35 fighter. Pratt & Whitney said in a statement the report “was an audit of P&W’s quality system and F135 contractual adherence, not an audit of F135 product quality.” The IG made six findings, two of which were aimed at Pratt and four at the F-35 System Program Office. Pratt military engines president Bennett Croswell said some of the problem is that Pratt uses its own company-wide quality management system, which he said is more stringent than the government’s but uses different metrics. The government wanted one designed specifically for the F135 engine. In a statement, the company said none of the findings “had any impact on product performance” or safety of the fleet. Croswell said 60 percent of the items are already addressed, 39 more will be resolved by July, and the last “by the end of the year.” One of the dings cited was that a worker wasn’t wearing the required face shield, Croswell said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.