Lockheed Martin overcharged the US government by $265 million on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development programme, the company announced on 9 August.

The company is now in the process of reimbursing the funds to the government, although it was not immediately clear if the funds will be returned to the JSF programme office for reinvestment or go elsewhere.

“We are working with the government to determine the appropriate amount of interest” owed, according to a released company dossier.

The government’s joint programme office did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The overbilling issue was discovered during a “routine internal audit” by the company, a spokesman told Flight. The trouble “had to do with invoices connected with [JSF partners] Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems,” the spokesman said, adding that neither of Lockheed’s partners were not to blame for the error.

Lockheed incorrectly coded certain costs in the programme’s billing system, the company says.

The internal audit found that the overcharging issue dates back to the initial contract award period in 2002.

Lockheed says the discovery will have no impact on the company’s prior financial reports and is not expected to have a “material effect” on the company’s finances and operating results.

 “We have initiated a thorough review to determine why the error was not detected sooner,” the dossier says, and “to prevent any recurrence of this type of billing error.”

Source: FlightGlobal.com