US probes Honeywell over sensor made in China

NEW YORK (AFP) - US defence contractor Honeywell said on Monday it is being investigated by US authorities about the manufacture of a defence-related sensor in China used for a US fighter jet.

Honeywell spokesman Scott Sayres, confirming media reports about the Justice Department's investigation of Honeywell sensors used for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, said the company was cooperating "fully" with the probe.

"This is a common electrical sensor found on a circuit card that is widely available in commercial applications around the world," Honeywell spokesman Scott Sayres said in an email.

"Honeywell did produce this component in China for a short period of time, and proactively and voluntarily decided to move production to a US facility in 2012 after consulting with the Department of Defence and our partners," he said.

The Justice Department contacted Honeywell in March 2013, "well after we had decided and had already begun moving production to the US, about the sensor and we have, and will continue to, fully cooperate with its review," he said.

"We believe we have followed all applicable US laws and regulations relating to the manufacturing of defence-related components in China." Honeywell is a supplier for the next-generation F-35 program team led by Lockheed Martin. The stealth F-35 is the largest US military program in history, aimed at developing a fighter aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and US allies.