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U.S. Waived Laws To Keep F-35 On Track With China-made Parts 348

Posted by Soulskill
from the boondoggle-that-won't-die dept.
An anonymous reader sends this report from Reuters: "The Pentagon repeatedly waived laws banning Chinese-built components on U.S. weapons in order to keep the $392 billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter program on track in 2012 and 2013, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern about China's espionage and military buildup. According to Pentagon documents reviewed by Reuters, chief U.S. arms buyer Frank Kendall allowed two F-35 suppliers, Northrop Grumman Corp and Honeywell International Inc, to use Chinese magnets for the new warplane's radar system, landing gears and other hardware. Without the waivers, both companies could have faced sanctions for violating federal law and the F-35 program could have faced further delays."
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U.S. Waived Laws To Keep F-35 On Track With China-made Parts

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  • by Shavano (2541114) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @11:39AM (#45865209)

    There's a lot of electronic parts in those planes. Seriously, where do you get the electronic components to run a modern warplane if not from China this last decade?

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Saturday January 04, 2014 @11:44AM (#45865233) Homepage Journal

    Did you not even read TFS? Electronics weren't being imported, rare-earth magnets were. We're still capable of building our own electronics, we just can't do it as cheaply as the Chinese.

  • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Saturday January 04, 2014 @11:45AM (#45865241) Homepage Journal

    It sort of shows how vulnerable America really is in terms of being able to wage a major war, and how badly the U.S. Congress has sold out the American people with it encouragement of outsources manufacturing outside of America. Sure, there are many reasons why electronics companies in particular no longer manufacture their components or devices in America any more (where at one time 100% of all ICs were made in America on a global basis), but a great deal has to do with both treaties that Congress has ratified and specific trade policies that have basically gutted the manufacturing base in America.

    I guess we shouldn't go to war against China, as we would be literally destroying our own factories.

  • Exaggeration much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nemyst (1383049) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @11:47AM (#45865249) Homepage
    Assuming that there is any sort of provision to waive the restriction under chosen circumstances (and if there aren't, then the law could use a bit of a fixing), we're talking about magnets here. This isn't as though they're using a whole PCB from China with their firmware or something. Magnets. You can't do much spying with a piece of metal. If the random testing they do on all components anyway passes, I don't see any reason to find this problematic. China already has a near monopoly on rare earth materials so it's not particularly surprising that this is happening.

    The good thing to do would be to try to plan ahead and develop internal facilities so that eventually it's roughly breaking even to use US magnets instead. The danger isn't in the magnets but in the dependency on another country.
  • by khallow (566160) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @12:08PM (#45865379)

    I wish we would start a jobs program to bring electronics manufacturing back to the US. if nothing else, just for peace of mind, to be able to use those parts in critical situations and KNOW they are designed and built properly.

    What would be the point? It'd just be overpriced junk that drives up the cost of military purchases even more than they already are. The US is in the process of destroying its economy. It no longer matters IMHO whether parts are made by potential future enemies or not.

  • by Bartles (1198017) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @12:13PM (#45865413)
    You left out tax policy, environmental policy, and labor policy as well. Those are more responsible for gutting the manufacturing base. I speak as a manufacturer.
  • China vs. Japan (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fnord666 (889225) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @12:40PM (#45865535) Journal
    I like the part where the article's headline specifically calls out the Chinese sourced magnets even though in three of the four violations cited the magnets came from Japan, not China.
  • by peragrin (659227) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @12:47PM (#45865567)

    Um seriously?

    Take a look at Syria. There are no US troops there and they are slaughtering themselves just fine. Iraq still has weekly car bombings. Hell in Iraq the majority of all deaths were not from coalition troops but from Muslim fighters killing everyone who didn't agree with them.

    Personally I say we retreat back to north america maybe keep one or two bases open and wait in 20 years the world will descend into major war. For as war hungry as the USA has been theUSA has been the person everyone can hate equally.

    Of course I also believe in letting Iran have nukes. Iran is stupid enough to use them. Most likely against Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.

  • by Bite The Pillow (3087109) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @02:42PM (#45866243)

    I'm sure if there are sourcers for purchasing military approved reading Slashdot, and they happen to read your comment, and are allowed to post such information, you will feel stupid. Until then you have basically said "I operate in completely different circles" much like using your social connections to prove Kardashians don't exist because they are not at your gatherings.

    In other words, your industry sounds like consumer goods, not military hardware. Consumers won't pay domestic prices, military sourcing will. Ergo, I give your first hand experience zero relevance.

  • Re:Mountain Pass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @04:06PM (#45866635)

    The heritage piece was an opportunist hatchet job to discredit all democratic presidential candidates

    That must explain their crediting Hillary Clinton with having raised a legitimate concern, and their incredibly partisan conclusion that "it is not clear from the record that either Republicans or the Democrats, Bushes or Clintons, have the intestinal fortitude to take the steps necessary to monitor problematic foreign investment in America's high-technology manufacturing sectors".

    Kos is so vague that I would argue it is wrong, and clearly given the date a pro-Obama job.

    Yes, they're guilty of making incredibly vague statements like "in 1995 The Clinton Administration approved the sale of an Indiana company that made guidence systems for smart bombs to a Chinese led consortium". How could you even attempt to verify that?

    I see editorial opportunism in both

    Yes, citing facts to bolster an opinion is clearly opportunism.

    So what is the point? Are they both right?

    That wouldn't be surprising\, given that they both mention the same facts and concerns.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 04, 2014 @04:32PM (#45866767)

    Not true. Intel has a number of major semiconductor fabrication plants in the US.

    True, for the list of parts he specified. Processor cores, yes, Intel and Texas Instruments have fabs in the US, but he's entirely correct that discrete components are exclusively manufactured in Asia. No one at all makes resistors, capacitors, or diodes in the US.

    Well, from GP " I can't remember the last time I found a transistor or chip made on US soil"...

    That said, google "american made capacitors" etc., and you'll prove that false too.

    I'm not disputing there is a lot of electronics components made in Asia, but they are not the only choice the way OP made it out to be.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @04:56PM (#45866871) Homepage Journal

    There is no "killer" problem with the F35 that we can find.

    Thanks. I feel totally reassured now.

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