For First Time, Defense Industry Affected by Coronavirus 

For First Time, Defense Industry Affected by Coronavirus 

f-35 manufacturing

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A first indication that the coronavirus outbreak may begin to affect the highly integrated global defense industrial base. Two F-35-related facilities in Italy and Japan have been forced to close due to the coronavirus. Lockheed Martin has stopped production of F-35 components at a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries factory in Japan and ordered employees at another F-35 facility in Italy to work from home, Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters.

“I believe they have decided to shut down for a week,” Lord said of the Japanese facility, but “it doesn’t look like it is affecting deliveries” of the aircraft, she added. Lord didn’t mention any other programs that have been affected. 

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col Mike Andrews added in a statement that in Japan, the temporary Mitsubishi closure only affects Japanese aircraft, while Lockheed “is restricting travel” to the Cameri facility citing a US Embassy travel alert.

“Pratt and Whitney Resident Engine Team in Cameri have been directed to telework,” he added. “There have been no impacts to the production line.”

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Ken Rapuano has been tasked with monitoring the virus’ impact on allies, to include “scenario planning” on potential impacts, according to

Undoubtedly, the impact on the defense industries is only a part of the growing consequences of the coronavirus outbreak on global industries in general, and on world supply chains in all field.